These FAQs are provided by the Canadian Legal FAQs, a website of the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta. They provide answers to questions about the Criminal Code of Canada. On this page you will find general information FAQs on the Code, shoplifting, and joyriding.
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Criminal records and pardons
A criminal record is a government record of criminal activity that generally contains personal information, conviction history and any other police related information. A pardon allows people who were convicted of a criminal offence, but have completed their sentence and demonstrated they are law-abiding citizens, to have their criminal record sealed and set aside. A free pardon is granted where the innocence of the person is proven; the person is deemed never to have committed the offence.
This online version of a book produced by the John Howard Society of Alberta outlines the pardon application process. It also answers 20 frequently asked questions about pardons.
The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted is a Canadian, non-profit organization dedicated to identifying, advocating for, and exonerating individuals convicted of a crime that they did not commit and to preventing such injustices in the future through legal education and justice system reform. On this site you can read about past cases and learn about the reasons behind wrongful convictions.
This website section from the RCMP explains the process for getting a criminal record check. You may need a criminal record check for various purposes, including: employment, adoption, international travel, volunteer work, citizenship, name change, student placement or to obtain a record suspension (formerly pardon).
The National Pardon Centre is a federal non-profit organization which assists individuals with applications for Canadian pardons and US entry waivers. A Canadian pardon, also known as a record suspension, will get your life back on track and a US waiver will open up the border and let you travel.
Pardons Canada is a non-profit organization which assists individuals in removing a past criminal offence from public record. They also assist in obtaining U.S. Entry Waivers. Support and information is provided by telephone, on the website, and in-person at a walk-in centre in Toronto.
This fact sheet from the Parole Board of Canada explains the process for getting a record suspension (formerly known as a pardon). A record suspension allows people who were convicted of a criminal offence, but have completed their sentence and demonstrated they are law-abiding citizens, to have their criminal record kept separate and apart from other criminal records. A record suspension removes a person's criminal record from the Canadian Police Information Centre 9CPIC) database. This measns that a search of CPIC will not show that you have a criminal record or a record suspension.
This online resource is from the John Howard Society of Alberta and contains information about; Police Criminal Records Systems, Accessing Criminal Records, Care and Removal of Criminal Records, The Impact of Having a Criminal Record, Youth Records, Accessing Youth Records, Care and Removal of Youth Records, The Impact of Having a Youth Record, Legislation Related to Criminal Records, Glossary and Contact Numbers for Further Information.
This Department of Justice Canada resource outlines the different rules that apply to youth records. It discusses issues such as when the record will be destroyed, who has access to the file, the impact it may have on work and travel and information about getting a pardon. There is also a chart outlining when, or if, the record will be destroyed. Also may be downloaded as a PDF.