John Howard Society of Durham Region

Record Suspensions (Formerly Pardons)

Record Suspension Service Update…

If you are an existing Record Suspension client or are looking for information on how to obtain a Record Suspension, please contact us:

 By Phone: 905-579-8482 ext. 352

For those seeking information on how to obtain a Record Suspension information is also available on the Government of Canada website


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.

  • The term Pardon is now replaced with the title “Record Suspension”.
  • The waiting period for a record suspension is now 5 years for all summary convictions, and 10 years for all indictable offences.
  • 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.
  • If a person has 3 indictable offences they are still eligible to apply.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • Provide confidential service/support
  • Work with Police Services, Court officials, RCMP, and Parole Board of Canada on behalf of client
  • Obtain all necessary court documents/record of proceedings
  • Submit application to Parole Board of Canada
  • Respond to requests/further requirements from Parole Board of Canada
  • Assist with appeals/proposal to deny

Call 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.

905-579-8482 ext. 352

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 received back from the RCMP, local record 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 (Updated Feb 2022)

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

  • $225 application processing fee, payable by Cash OR Visa, on your first interview with us.
  • $50 payable by money order or certified cheque for the Parole Board of Canada, made payable to the Receiver General for Canada, for record suspension processing
  • $80 for prints to be done at Investigative Solutions Network Inc., +1 (866) 790-4764 1340 Pickering Parkway, Suite 602
    Pickering, ON L1V 0C4 Canada
  • $100 for the local police to perform a local police records check for the area you live in, and for any area you have lived in over the last 5 years (this fee can vary between local stations)

A subsidy is available if required.

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:

  • Court documents: some documents take several months (in rare cases over a year) to secure. Requests for court documents for pardon purposes are not considered to be priority by many courts.
  • RCMP checks: usually take three months, but it can take longer.
  • After the application is mailed it usually takes two to three months for the Parole Board of Canada to respond saying they have received it. This does not mean it has started to be processed. Usually it takes another couple of months for the processing to start. At this time the board is reporting the process is taking 18 to 24 months after they receive all of the required documents. Therefore, it is important to realize that some record suspensions can take up to two years or more before completion.

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.