How do I get a pardon or a record suspension?

A takes your criminal record off the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. This means that your conviction will not show up on a police record check. A record suspension used to be called a .

You might need a police record check for a:

  • job or volunteer position
  • visa or other international travel document
  • citizenship application

When you apply to work or volunteer with a vulnerable sector group, like children or the elderly, you usually must agree to a Vulnerable Sector Check. This type of record check will show if you got a record suspension for any sexual convictions.

A record suspension doesn't erase your criminal record. But it does remove your record from the CPIC database so that it doesn't show up on a police record check. So getting a record suspension can help you get more opportunities for jobs and education.

You don't need to apply for a record suspension for:

  • an absolute or , or
  • a conviction from a youth court or youth justice court.

If you get a conditional discharge, the conviction will be removed from your record 3 years after you are found guilty. An will be removed 1 year after you are found guilty. Youth convictions will be removed from your record once a certain amount of time has passed. Read How does having a youth record affect me? for more information.

The Parole Board of Canada handles everything related to record suspensions.

A record suspension isn't always permanent. The Parole Board will add your criminal record back into the CPIC database if:

  • you are of a new indictable offence,
  • you lied in your record suspension application, or
  • you weren't eligible for a record suspension when it was ordered. For example, you accidentally missed something in your application and the Parole Board didn't catch the mistake.

The Parole Board can also add your criminal record back into the CPIC database if you're convicted of a . The board decides this on a case-by-case basis. If the Parole Board is thinking about cancelling your record suspension, they will send you a letter. You will have the chance to write to them to explain that you've been showing good behavior, like taking counselling, and that your record suspension shouldn't be cancelled.

Simple possession of cannabis

There is a simplified process if you're trying to get a record suspension for possession of cannabis and you have no other convictions. Read How do I get a pardon for a cannabis conviction? for more information about the process.

If you have other convictions as well as cannabis possession, you will have to use the normal application process.

Getting help

Be aware of scams. Don't work with companies that say you can't apply for a record suspension on your own or that charge you more money to get the record suspension faster. Companies can help you with the application if you need it, but you can apply for a record suspension on your own. And there is no way for a company to make the process faster. The government has published some helpful tips on how to avoid scams.

If you have questions about the application process, you can call the Parole Board of Canada toll-free at 1-800-874-2652 or email

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