John Howard Society of Durham Region
Mission: To reduce the impact of crime and its causes by providing a spectrum of effective prevention and intervention programs.
Main office: 905-579-8482, 75 Richmond Street West, Oshawa, Ontario, L1G 1E3

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Record Suspension (formerly Pardons)


As of March 13th, 2012 the Federal government has made changes to the way Pardons work in Canada. Bill C-10 ("Safe Streets and Communities Act") makes the following immediately effective.

  1. The term Pardon is now replaced with the title "Record Suspension".
  2. The waiting period for a record suspension is now 5 years for all summary convictions, and 10 years for all indictable offences.
  3. If your court information forms indicate "unable to confirm" as the method of trial, the Parole Board of Canada says it's a ten year wait period before you are eligable to apply.
  4. If a person has 3 indictable offences they are still eligible to apply.
  5. You are NOT ELIGIBLE for a record suspension if you have been convicted of: A) a Schedule 1 Offence (sexual offence involving a minor) under the Criminal Records Act, B) If you had MORE than 3 indictable offences where you recieved a prison sentence of two years or more you are not eligible.
  6. EXCEPTIONS: As far as sexual offences towards minors go, "certain exceptions" indicated on the Parole Board of Canada website document have also been clarified by PBC. The individual has to meet all three of these specific requirements: 1) The individual could not have been in a position of trust or authority when he/she committed the offence, 2) The offence would have included no violence or threats, 3) The offender is not more than 5 years older than the victim. If all three of these specific requirements are ruled out then the individual may still apply after the ten year eligibility period.
  7. Feel free to call the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) at 1-800-874-2652 (press 5 when automated message begins) to request further clarifications. Parole Board of Canada Fact Sheet (click here)

We will do our best to update this page with any other new information and steps as we are made aware of changes to the system.

What We Do

The process of applying for a record suspension can be complex. There are many steps and specific tasks one must complete in order to assemble all the items required for a complete application. Our staff know the rules, requirements and the right people to communicate with to produce a thorough application on your behalf. We:

Call any of our Durham office locations to speak with us about the record suspension process. If you would like our help facilitating a record suspension, you can book an appointment with us.

Oshawa - (905) 579-8482

Ajax - (905) 427-8165

Bowmanville - (905) 623-6814

Whitby - (905) 666-8847

It can take 6-12 months to acquire all the documentation you need -before- you are then able to submit the whole package of your application. This is due to the need to track down court records, get finger prints done and back from the RCMP, local records checks, etc.

Comprehensive Information

Parole Board of Canada

For other help, call the Parole Board at 1-800-874-2652


Information about Youth Records

Department of Justice - Youth Records

Having A Criminal Record

Having a criminal record is increasingly becoming a barrier for people looking for employment or applying for a visa to work in another country. It is strongly advised that those with criminal records obtain a record suspension as soon as they are eligible.

Those with a criminal record who have had no criminal involvement for several years may request a Federal Record Suspension from the Parole Board of Canada. You can apply after the terms of your sentencing are completed (eg. fines paid, probation completed, etc.)

Once A Record Suspension Is Awarded

Once a record suspension is awarded, the record is sealed and may not be accessed without the permission of the Ministry of Public Safety. The Criminal Records Act applies only to records kept at the federal level. You may request your local police force to restrict information about your record after the federal record suspension has been awarded. If they agree to do this, a potential employer should be unable to learn about your criminal record through the local police database.

Costs for Record Suspension Application

The total cost for a Record Suspension submission will be vary depending upon these items below and additional documents a person may need to acquire:

IMPORTANT ** If it has been a minimum of 5 years since you fulfilled the terms of your sentencing, you will need to provide proof that your charge was a Summary Offence. Also, proof that all fines, surcharges, restitution and compensation orders imposed (except if the court decision is over 15 years) have been paid. Sources may be your lawyer, or the court where you were convicted, your bank records, Parole office, receipts, etc. If any court charges are incurred by us, you will be responsible for payment of these as well.

Obtaining a Record Suspension is a lengthy process, the time varies depending on the speed of certain information being gathered BEFORE the application can actually be presented to the board. The Parole Board of Canada and the RCMP have suffered severe cut backs and are taking longer to complete the work. ***We have no control over the time frame of the following components:

Acceleration may be possible under certain documented circumstances, eg., if you can secure a letter from an employer stating that you require a clear criminal record for employment purposes.

Updated: February 2014