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If you have received a pardon from the government of Canada you know that your record is sealed. According to the Parole Board of Canada a pardon is as follows:

  • What is the effect of a record suspension?

All information pertaining to convictions will be taken out of the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) and may not be disclosed without permission from the Minister of Public Safety Canada. The CRA applies only to records kept within federal departments and agencies. However, many of the provincial and municipal law enforcement agencies cooperate by restricting access to their records once notified that a record suspension has been ordered.

Bear in mind that right now a pardon is called a record suspension. I have more on that in a later post but for now let’s just agree that a pardon and a record suspension are the same thing.

So when you receive a pardon your record is not actually destroyed. The details of your conviction still exist but they are not accessible to anyone. The reason for this is that if you are arrested again in the future the pardon can be revoked. If that happens, all of your prior criminal convictions will – once again -become part of your open, adult criminal record. Essentially the pardon will cease to have effect.

The reason for this is that the government does not see a pardon as a form of forgiveness. Rather a pardon is a way of giving the applicants the chance to live a law abiding life without the obvious challenges and disadvantages that a criminal record presents.

Over the years we have seen some cases where clients have received a pardon, then been charged with another crime sometime thereafter but have not had their pardon revoked. We aren’t sure why this happens but we have only seen it happen with smaller offences.

The point is that if you plan on applying for a pardon you want to be very careful not to get arrested again. Otherwise you may find that you went through all that trouble just to have the government take your pardon away.




About Michael Ashby

Michael Ashby is Co-Founder and Communications Director for the National Pardon Centre. Get in touch with Michael by sending an email to or calling extension 227.Michael Ashby est le co-fondateur et le directeur des communications au Centre du Pardon national. Contactez Michael par email au ou par téléphone au poste 227.

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