If you have been convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code or any other federal legislation, you may make an application to the National Parole Board for a pardon in respect of that offence. You do not need a lawyer or representative to obtain a pardon. An application form and instructions are available on the National Parole Board’s website: www.pbc-clcc.gc.ca/prdons/servic-eng.shtml.
The Board must investigate your circumstances since the date of your conviction. You must not have reoffended and must be of good behaviour. The effect of the grant of a pardon is to automatically remove the record of the conviction in federal documents, and when applying for employment in connection with a job that is under the legislative authority of the federal government, remove any disqualification to which you are subjected because you had a conviction. While a pardon is a federal creature and only applies to federal records, many provinces and municipalities will voluntarily restrict access to your record upon application, establishing you were granted a pardon by the federal government. You may be eligible for a pardon from a summary conviction three years after you have paid your fine or completed your sentence. A pardon from an indictable offence may be obtained five years after the completion of your sentence or payment of your fine. If you were convicted of a personal injury offence and received a sentence of two years or more, or if you were convicted of sexual offence involving a child (indictable conviction), you must wait ten years before applying for a pardon. If you received an absolute discharge, you are eligible to have this removed from your record after one year; if it was a conditional discharge, the waiting period is three years. If the discharge was received after July 24, 1992, the RCMP will automatically remove this information from their computer after the specified waiting period. If you received the discharge before July 24, 1992, you must request the RCMP to remove the discharge from their system. It should be noted that the United States of America does not recognize pardons or conditional discharges. Therefore, even if you receive a pardon or if your conditional discharge has automatically been removed from your record, the American authorities will always consider you to have a criminal record (see Travelling with a Criminal Record section below).