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How To Remove A Criminal Conviction From Your Public Record

How To Remove A Criminal Conviction From Your Public RecordRecord suspensions will remove criminal records and lift the stigma associated with a criminal past, allowing law-abiding citizens to seamlessly become contributing members of their respective communities. Formerly called a pardon, a record suspension keeps the judicial record of a conviction separate and apart from other criminal records. For people with a criminal record, opportunities for work and travel can be limited by their past mistakes, making it difficult for them to create long-lasting change in their lives. However, with the help of non-profit organizations like Pardons Canada, people are able to pass criminal background checks and clear their police record by obtaining a record suspension, pardon, record purge or file destruction. Waiting periods for the record suspension application process are dependent on the type of crime a person is convicted for. Summary offences hold a crime-free waiting period of five (5) years after the end of your punishment, while those who are convicted of indictable offences will have to demonstrate crime-free behaviour for ten (10) years after the end of the punishment to be eligible for the record suspension application process. 


The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is the official and only federal agency responsible for making record suspension decisions under the Criminal Records Act (CRA). They can order, refuse to order, and revoke a record suspension. If you are convicted of a new offence, the information may lead to a reactivation of the file in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database.


Applying For A Record Suspension For Travel Purposes


People with criminal records often feel more stressed when traveling and crossing international borders because border patrols, especially at the US Canada border can do criminal background checks and refuse you entry if they see that you have a criminal record. 


Many people believe that if they have a passport it means that they are safe to travel even though they may have had a criminal record in the past. Passport Canada reviews each passport application on its own merit and will not deny you the right to have a passport if you have a criminal record.  However, if you are traveling to the US with a Canadian passport, the Americans have the right to deny you entry if you have a criminal record no matter how old the conviction is. 


By obtaining a record suspension, you can remove your criminal record and reduce the likelihood that your criminal record will be seen at the US border. A record suspension also does not guarantee entry or visa privileges to another country.  While its true that the Americans do not recognize Canadian pardons, if they have never stopped you in the past, then its unlikely they will be able to see your criminal record once the pardon or record suspension has been granted. 


If you are denied entry to the US due to having a criminal record, then you will require a US Entry Waiver or I-192 or I-194 to re-enter the USA.  The US Entry Waiver is a complicated and time consuming process that is valid for a limited period of time usually one to five years, after which you must renew the application and re-pay the fee for the US Entry Waiver.


Applying For A Record Suspension To Clear Police Record For Employment and Volunteering Purposes


A routine background check can cause a lot of stress on people who have been convicted of a crime, no matter how old or how small the offence. Employment or job applications, coaching and volunteer opportunities often require criminal background checks, making it difficult to live a fulfilling lifestyle if you are unable to gain employment, volunteer at an organization close to your heart or coach your child’s sports team. For people looking to pass a criminal background check, a record suspension makes it possible to remove their criminal convictions from their public record, opening up all sorts of opportunity for long-lasting change, especially when it comes to job or career advancement, volunteering and coaching.

To remove your criminal record and become eligible for a record suspension, you must have served your sentences, paid all associated fines, and demonstrated crime-free behaviour for the allotted waiting period associated with your offence. Once eligible, there is 10-step process that will ultimately determine the outcome of the Parole Board of Canada’s decision on your record suspension application. Non-profit organizations like Pardons Canada assist individuals in removing past criminal offences from their public record, gathering and processing all of the necessary documents on your behalf (including original court records, rcmp files and local police checks), reducing the risk for error on your record suspension application so that it can be successfully approved by the PBC.


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