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Canadian Pardon FAQ

A pardon will allow people convicted of a criminal offence in Canada to prove that they have been law abiding citizens over a set period of time since their crime was committed. Pardons are granted by the Parole Board of Canada under the Criminal Records Act.

If you require more information, contact:

Parole Board of Canada
410 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario KK1A 0R1

Pardons INFO line: 1-800-874-2652


What is a Canadian Pardon?

A pardon allows people who have committed a crime in Canada to demonstrate that they are now law-abiding citizens because they have served their sentence, paid any fines associated with their conviction and have not been involved with any other crime.

When can I apply for a pardon?

If you have committed a summary offence, you can apply three years after all fines have been paid and any sentence has been served. If you were convicted of an indictable offence the period before you can apply for a pardon is 5 years.

If I obtain a pardon, does it mean that my criminal record will be wiped out?

No. Your record will be taken from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) and your criminal record will not show up on any checks of the public records in Canada, which means that persons with pardoned convictions will not be discriminated against when they apply for a job or for a position in the Canadian Forces or federal authority offices. The Solicitor General of Canada always retains the ability to disclose information on past crimes regardless of your pardon.

How long will it take to get a pardon?

Once you have waited the required 3 years (summary offences) or 5 years (indictable offences) after you have served your sentence and paid any fines it will take you around 12-18 months to have your pardon granted, although each case is considered on an individual basis.

Will my pardon be recognized outside of Canada?

No. Some countries may recognize your Canadian pardon but many will not. For example, the US will not recognize your pardon.

I am not a Canadian citizen but I have been convicted of an offence in Canada. Can I apply for a pardon?

Anyone can apply for a pardon regardless of their nationality providing you have waited the required 3 years (summary offences) or 5 years (indictable offences) after you have served your sentence and paid any fines.

What is the benefit of getting a pardon?

The main benefit is that whenever a criminal record check is performed the pardoned record will not show up. This is particularly beneficial for people who are applying for new jobs, positions in the Canadian Forces or federal authorities.

How much does it cost to get a pardon?

The application fee is $150. There is also a further $25 fee payable to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to obtain a Criminal Record. Each applicant must submit their fingerprints on the Fingerprint form RCMP C-216C that states clearly that they are applying for a pardon.

How do I apply for a pardon? Do I need a lawyer?

No. You must obtain a pardon application form and guide from the Parole Board of Canada. You can do this either by calling the pardon information line on 1-800-874-2652 or download the pack online.

I obtained an absolute discharge. Do I still need to apply for a pardon to absolve me of any blame?

No. If your criminal record only consists of an absolute or conditional discharge. Absolute discharges are automatically removed from the CPIC computer after a year and conditional discharges after three years. If you obtained a discharge prior to 1992, you should contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to remove your record.


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