Record Suspension (Pardon)

At The John Howard Society of Toronto, we offer a number of services to help you meet your future goals. Today, let’s get started by helping you clear your criminal record. 


Important note - Changes March 2012


As of March 13th, 2012 the Federal government passed Bill C-10 ("Safe Streets and Communities Act") resulting in changes to the Pardons process.


Notice of Changes to the Pardon’s Program under Bill C-10


Amendments to the Criminal Records Act (CRA) came into effect on March 13, 2012, resulting in changes to the Pardon program’s name, eligibility requirements, and waiting periods, as follows:

The term "pardon" is replaced with the term "record suspension";

The waiting period for a Record Suspension has increased to 5 years for all summary conviction offences and to 10 years for all indictable offences;

Individuals convicted of sexual offences against minors (with certain exceptions) and those who have been convicted of more than three indictable offences, each with a sentence of two or more years, are now ineligible for a Record Suspension.


IMPORTANT: Applications received on or before March 12, 2012, will be accepted for processing as "pardon" applications under the former CRA, as long as they are deemed to be eligible and complete by the PBC at the time of receipt.


All applications received as of March 13, 2012, deemed to be eligible and complete, and accepted for processing, will be processed as a "record suspension" under the new CRA.


Please refer to the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) at 1-800-874-2652 (press 5 when automated message begins) to speak with a Record Suspension advisor.


WHAT is a Record Suspension (formerly known as a pardon)?


Receiving a Record Suspension means that your judicial record of conviction is kept separate and apart from other criminal records. This means that your convictions will not be revealed on criminal record checks. It does not erase a criminal record.


The Criminal Record Act removes all information about the conviction for which you received the Record Suspension from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). Federal agencies cannot give out information about your past convictions without approval from the Minister of Public Safety Canada.


A Record Suspension removes disqualifications caused by a criminal conviction, such as the ability to contract with the federal government, or eligibility for Canadian citizenship.  If you are convicted of a new offence, the information may lead to a reactivation of the record in the CPIC.


Some REASONS for obtaining a Record Suspension:


Better prospects for employment;

More freedom to travel outside of Canada;

Less difficulty getting immigration status;

Reduced risk of negative impacts on child custody, visitation and adoption;

Less hassle renting an apartment;

Improved prospects of meeting educational requirements; and

Greater peace of mind and self-respect.


Completing this process helps to reduce any stigma and shame associated with past involvement in the criminal justice system, and it will certainly provide you with a clean slate to achieve your goals. It allows people who have made positive life changes to be freed from the many negative impacts of having a criminal record. People have the right not to be discriminated against because of a criminal conviction for which they have received a Record Suspension.


WHEN can you apply for a Record Suspension?


You can apply for a Record Suspension after you have completed all of your sentences AND after a waiting period.


You have completed all your sentences if you have:

Paid all fines, surcharges, costs, restitution and compensation orders;

Served all sentences of imprisonment and conditional sentences, including parole or statutory release; and/or

Completed your probation order.


After completing all of your sentences, you must complete a waiting period:

• 5 years for Summary Convictions (less serious)

• 10 years for Indictable Convictions (more serious)


What the John Howard Society of Toronto does to help:


You may have seen advertisements for companies that say they can get you a Record Suspension faster, easier, or “guaranteed”. The truth is that it is impossible for them to speed up the process or guarantee the outcome. The eligibility requirements and process are the same for everyone. You do not need to pay a company or lawyer to obtain a Record Suspension. You only need to pay the document and application fees.


Anyone can apply for a Record Suspension on their own. However, this process can be very tedious, time-consuming and confusing. We will work with you to assist you to obtain your Record Suspension by helping to facilitate the collection of necessary from the RCMP, courts, and local police. We will also help you to navigate through the application process. We also have on-site fingerprinting services to make it more convenient for you to begin the process.


Only once all of these documents have been received will your application then be submitted to the Parole Board of Canada. However, it is the Parole Board of Canada who is responsible for granting, denying, and revoking Record Suspensions, and the speed with which you receive a Record Suspension is dependent on the Parole Board of Canada.


We uphold and maintain the integrity of each file. We treat every file as confidential, and your information will never be released or sold to information-collecting parties.


HOW do I apply?


The John Howard Society of Toronto can help you get a Record Suspension as quickly, efficiently and inexpensively as possible.  The process requires attention to detail to ensure positive results. The Parole Board of Canada can and will return your application if information is missing or if it is filled out incorrectly.



You will be responsible to pay the cost associated the work outlined above. The processing fee is $299.00.


In addition, clients are responsible for the following disbursements:






Court fees


Local police check(s)


Parole Board of Canada Application Fee









*Fees are subject to change.



Contact 416-925-4386 ext. 271 to start the process today!


Travel Waivers


Certain criminal records may exclude you from travel into some countries. A waiver is a document, issued by the country to which you would like to travel to, allowing you to enter even if you do not meet the entry requirements. For example, the United States (US) restricts entry for people who have been convicted of certain crimes. You can find a list of what these crimes are at


If you have a record of one of these crimes, you will need a Waiver of Inadmissibility to enter the US. Never try to travel to the US if you are excluded; you could be detained, fined, charged, or incarcerated.


The waiver is short-term and is issued by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. You can apply by filling out Form I-192 and submitting the required documents. The list of crimes, application form, and instructions can be found on the US Citizenship & Immigration website at The application will need to be submitted at CBP at a Port of Entry.


The application process can take up to a year and is expensive. The costs will depend on the types of documents you need to submit, but the application itself is $585.00 US as of 2012.


If you have obtained a Record Suspension, you may still need a waiver to travel to the US. Border officials may have access to different kinds of information than the Canadian police and do not recognize a Record Suspension. Even a conditional discharge for certain offences can exclude you from entry.


While the John Howard Society of Toronto does not currently assist in the process of obtaining a travel waiver, fingerprinting services are still available for this purpose.


For more information, read the CBP website at, contact your nearest Port of Entry, or call the Pearson Airport CBP Centre at 905-676-2606.



To learn more about the program, please contact 416-925-4386.