The Fastest Way to Get a Pardon

What is the Fastest Way to Get a Pardon in Canada?

We’re often asked about the fastest way to get a pardon / record suspension which is understandable because most people want a clear criminal record as quickly as possible. You will find many agencies out there making claims that are simply not true, especially when it relates to the time it takes to get a pardon done.

How can I get a pardon done faster?

Since we pride ourselves on being honest – and providing you with information that is accurate and in your best interest – here is the simple, honest truth about getting a pardon done faster than the next applicant: there is none.

Anyone claiming that certain relationships or procedures will be able to get your pardon completed sooner than another application is simply not being honest with you. We suggest avoiding any company selling an Expedited Pardon Service or anything similar.

What is the average time frame when trying to get a pardon as fast as possible?

Depending on the specifics of your situation it can take 4 to 6 months to prepare the application and anywhere from 4 to 24 months for the Parole Board to process it and render a decision.

This time frame to get a pardon is based on a combination of supposedly guaranteed time frames from the Parole Board of Canada and our experience handling thousands of pardon applications since 2002.

How long does it take to get a pardon with the National Pardon Centre?

We can provide individual applicants with an estimate, based on our experience and on current waiting times, but it will always be a rough estimate because the process is unpredictable.

So why does it take so long? And why do some applications take longer than others?

The truth is it doesn’t ALWAYS take that long. MOST of our files fall within the 6 – 12 month range but it is common enough for some more complicated files to take longer. Since we are aware of how seriously a criminal record can be affecting your life the last thing we want to do is provide you wtih unrealistic time frames that cannot be guaranteed.

Even the most basic application requires information from the RCMP, the courts and a local police service. Some applications require other information from other sources, bet let’s focus on the essentials. Let’s take the example of someone with a simple record, just one DUI. We’ll call him Chuck.

Time it takes for Chuck to get a Pardon

First, Chuck needs to get an RCMP report for a record suspension application. The RCMP says it can take four months to process a request and send it out. Although some reports arrive in a month or two, Chuck needs to be prepared to wait the full four months because there’s no way of expediting the process or knowing exactly how long it’s going to take.

Court Request Processing Times

Second, Chuck needs to get information from the court he was convicted in. Sometimes it’s possible to request information from the courts without waiting for the RCMP report to arrive. But this depends on where the conviction took place, the policies at the individual courthouse, and what information the applicant already has. Either way, courts normally take about a month, sometimes more, to provide the necessary information.

Local Police Processing Times

Finally, Chuck needs to get a Local Police Records Check from his local police department. This is a special check required for all pardon applications. If Chuck had lived in more than one jurisdiction in the past five years, he’ll need to get a check from each location he’s lived in. Most police departments will take about two or three weeks to provide the local police records check (LPC), but a small number will do it on the spot. At the other extreme, some police services, especially in large cities, can take months to perform the check. We’ve even had situations where the person in charge of this process goes on leave or vacation, bringing the requests to a complete stop. It’s rare, but it happens. Regardless, there’s no way to speed up this process,

Parole Board of Canada Processing Times

Now that Chuck has completed his application, he can submit it to the Parole Board of Canada. We’re often asked if there’s an expedited service at the Parole Board or if there’s some way to speed things up. Unfortunately there is no way to get your pardon done faster at the Parole Board of Canada review stage.

For the past few years, the Parole Board has stated that they will process applications involving summary convictions within six months and those involving indictable convictions within twelve months. This is because indictable convictions involve more serious offences and the Parole Board needs to take more time to evaluate these applications.

Although some applications happen to be processed very quickly, it is unusual for it to take less than four months for summary convictions or less than eight months for indictable.

Since Chuck’s DUI is almost certainly a summary conviction,  he can expect to hear from the Parole Board in six months or less. If everything has gone smoothly, it will have taken Chuck about five or six months to get his pardon application ready and about four to six months for the Parole Board to review his case and grant his pardon. Therefore Chuck falls within the average 6 – 12 month time framge.

What could go wrong?

Of course things don’t always go smoothly, especially when it comes to large government bureaucracies. For example, it’s fairly common for some courts to take much, much longer than expected. Most often this is because they are simply inefficient or under-resourced. To make matters worse the courts can make mistakes, which can lead to further delays.

Why would  a pardon take longer than 12 months to complete?

In addition to unexpected delays with the RCMP, the courts and the local police things can be slowed down considerably at the Parole Board review stage.

If the Board is proposing to refuse a pardon it can take up to 24 months which is a long time to wait indeed. This normally occurs when the applicant has been involved with the police since their last conviction. The Board will then ask the applicant to provide additional information about their conduct before they render a final decision. Again, this is unpredictable because the applicant may not be aware that contact with the police is a cause for concern and, if they were under investigation for a crime but never questioned or arrested, the applicant may not even be aware that they came to the attention of the police.

People often think that getting a pardon will be quicker for minor offences or that it will take longer to get a pardon for a large number of convictions than for just one or two. But in reality it’s difficult to estimate how long the process will take in advance, regardless of whether the applicant has a summary or an indictable offence or whether there is only one conviction or many. There are just so many different factors involved.



Comments (2)
Sumit Atre / November 7, 2019

I have send my application about a 8 month ago but I have’t heard back anything, What should I do next?

Michael Ashby / November 12, 2019

Hi Sumit,

It would depend on where you sent it. IF you mean it was filed with the Parole Board of Canada then you can check there.

Kind regards,


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