If I have received a pardon from the government of Canada will the charges still show up on a criminal record background search?

This is a common question we receive at the National Pardon Centre but it a question that is easily answered. If you complete a pardon application – and if it is awarded by the government of Canada – then subsequent background checks will NOT reveal any information.

Furthermore, the criminal background check results will not indicate that a Canadian pardon has been granted. The resulting check will be identical to a check done by someone who has never had any trouble with the police.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example police and courts are permitted to have their own retention policies regarding criminal records. Most police and most courts in Canada will comply with the federal government and destroy or remove their documentation once a pardon is granted. However, there a few that will not so if someone is researching your criminal activity in one of these places it is possible that some information will be available even after a pardon is granted. However, this is very rare.

Another example is the American government. Border agents have access to our criminal record database so if they have view your criminal record prior to your pardon being granted then they will record that information. But since you cannot actually perform a Canadian background check with the American government the existence of this information is only relevant for people who wish to travel to the United States. If you find yourself in this position you will need a US entry waiver to overcome it.

If you have any questions about criminal record background checks, Canadian pardons and/or us entry waivers please feel free to get in touch with someone at the National Pardon Centre



Comments (2)
Jodi palmer / June 30, 2017

I received a pardon in 2011. I have had a criminal check and it has come back clean. My question would I be able to leave Canada for a vacation in California ?

Jennifer Benn / July 5, 2017

The best way to know whether a criminal record is coming in the background check report or not is, you should consider performing a background check on yourself. There are a lot of affordable ways to conduct self background check and get the details. If you see there is a criminal record coming in the report even after the pardon, you should take action to correct it before the real background check is being done by someone else whether your prospective employer or property owner. I have advised many of friends to conduct a self background check before their job interviews because some of our friends got rejected from good companies because of background check. By conducting a self background check, you can know what are the red highlighted area and can work upon that. Allow me to share one article related to this self background check.


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