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What is a Pardon?

What is a Pardon and how does it compare to a Record Suspension? The following definitions and commentary will help you understand what it means to be Pardoned or to have your record suspended in Canada.

Dictionary Definitions of:  What is a Pardon?


Clemency means the forgiveness of a crime or the cancellation (in whole or in part) of the penalty associated with it. It is a general concept that encompasses several related procedures: pardoning, commutation, remission and reprieves. A pardon is the forgiveness of a crime and the cancellation of the relevant penalty; it is usually granted by a head of state (such as a monarch or president) or by acts of a parliament or a religious authority. Commutation or remission is the lessening of a penalty without forgiveness for the crime; the beneficiary is still considered guilty of the offense. A reprieve is the temporary postponement of punishment.

Comment: the Division of the Parole Board of Canada that grants Record Suspensions in Canada is known as the Clemency and Record Suspension Division. The word clemency and pardon are often used interchangeably. With respect to the sealing of criminal records, in Canada we have Pardons (now called Record Suspension) and Clemency (which refers to the granting of early Pardons with an application called Royal Prerogative of Mercy). Clemency is given by either the Governor General or the Governor in Council.

Free Dictionary


1. To release (a person) from punishment; exempt from penalty: a convicted criminal who was pardoned by the governor.
2. To let (an offense) pass without punishment.
3. To make courteous allowance for; excuse: Pardon me, I’m in a hurry. See Synonyms at forgive.


1. The act of pardoning.

2. Law
a. Exemption of a convicted person from the penalties of an offense or crime by the power of the executor of the laws.
b. An official document or warrant declaring such an exemption.

3. Allowance or forgiveness for an offense or a discourtesy: begged the host’s pardon for leaving early.
4. Roman Catholic Church An indulgence.

Comment: Once pardoned, your criminal record is sealed. A pardon (now called record suspension), removes many obstacles in Canada, but it does not eliminate all forms of discrimination. It does not erase the fact that you were once convicted, online news publications regarding the event are not removed, and third parties (such as employers who have a copy of your criminal record obtained in employment screening) are not asked to seal or purge information concerning your criminal record. Foreign countries may not recognize a pardon or record suspension.

Free Dictionary Legal Directory

Pardon: The action of an executive official of the government that mitigates or sets aside the punishment for a crime.

Comment:  You can apply to have conviction(s) committed under an Act of Parliament sealed or set side.  The two most common Acts of Parliament for which a person would apply for a Record Suspension is the Criminal Code of Canada and Controlled Drugs and Substance Act.   When the Canadian Government grants a pardon or record suspension, your criminal record is sealed on a federal level. Local Police and Provincial Court Houses are not legally compelled to seal your record, though most will once pardoned.



1. kind indulgence, as in forgiveness of an offense or discourtesy or in tolerance of a distraction or inconvenience: I beg your pardon, but which way is Spruce Street?

2. Law .

a. a release from the penalty of an offense; a remission of penalty, as by a governor.
b. the document by which such remission is declared.

3. forgiveness of a serious offense or offender.

Comment: It is not clear why the Parole Board of Canada recently changed the name of Canada Pardon or Canadian Pardon to Record Suspension. It appears they want to still give you the benefits of having your record sealed, but by changing their name, it implies they are no longer in the business of forgiveness. Though the name change may be to satisfy victims, the word Clemency is still part of the title of their division.

Marriam Webster Dictionary

Pardon: excuse or forgiveness for a fault, offense, or discourtesy

Comment: The pardon and record suspension program is very successful. Less than 4% of all Pardoned Applicants have reoffended. Enclosed are statistics presented by the Parole Board of Canada:


What is a pardon? What is revocation rate?

Criminal Record Act Definitions of:  What is a Pardon?
Definition of Pardon:  The term ‘Pardon’ was repealed in 2012 and replaced with “Record Suspension”.  The term Record Suspension is defined as:

“a measure ordered by the Board under section 4.1”

The term Record Suspension is not specifically defined in section 4.1 of this Act, other than to state that if your application is approved, your record is “suspended”.  Clause 6(2) of this Act then explains that your record held with a department or agency of the Federal Government is kept separate apart from non-suspended records and not disclosed unless there are special circumstances.

Comment:  Your record held by the RCMP is suspended.  Local police and local court houses are not under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, but routinely volunteer to seal your local records upon the granting of a pardon (now called record suspension).

Summary of: What is a Pardon?

  • In Canada it is easiest to understand ‘what is a Pardon?’ is by what it does for you.
  • A Pardon seals convictions committed under an Act of Parliament.
  • It is proof that your record should no longer reflect upon your character.
  • It is proof that you have rehabilitated and are now of good character.
  • It eliminates most, but not all, forms of discrimination.
  • The name has changed to Record Suspension, and other than a name change, the same benefits and limitations exist.
Click Here to Contact Us For a Free Record Suspension Consultation

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How to Qualify for an Uncontested Divorce in Alberta

You can file for an uncontested divorce in Alberta if:

  • you or your spouse have resided in Alberta for the past 12 or more months;
  • you and your spouse agree to all matters concerning property, assets and debts;
  • if spousal support is an issue, you and your spouse are in agreement with spousal support; and
  • if there are dependent children, you and your spouse are in agreement with custody, access and child support.

Is your spouse unwilling to accept personal service?  This does not make the divorce ‘contested’.  It just means we have to find an alternate way to serve your spouse.  Contested occurs primarily when your spouse files a response to the Statement of Claim for Divorce which was served upon him or her, and you do not agree to the counterclaims being made by your spouse.

Desk Divorce vs Uncontested Divorces

A desk divorce is what happens when you file for an uncontested divorce. It means you do not have to appear before a Judge to get your divorce. You are represented by Affidavit evidence instead.  Your paperwork is filed at the divorce counter (ie. desk) and the clerks later present it to the Judge for consideration. You may need to appear before a judge if your divorce becomes contested, you require an emergency divorce, you have a special request, or you need to serve your spouse out of country or substitutionally.

No Fault Divorce vs Fault Divorce

When you file for a divorce, it is considered ‘no fault’ if you file under the grounds of one year separation. A fault divorce is when you file under the grounds of mental cruelty, physical cruelty, adultery or a combination of these grounds.  You are blaming the marriage breakdown on the behaviour of your spouse. The Defendant would have to be the one that committed the act of cruelty or adultery. Even if filing under cruelty or adultery, the divorce can still be considered uncontested if your spouse does not contest the grounds you file under.

Do I need to hire a lawyer?

The most affordable and practical method for obtaining an uncontested divorce is to hire an experienced paralegal. You do not need to hire a lawyer in an uncontested divorce situation, unless of course, you require legal advice to make sure that your proposal is fair and good for you or your situation is complex. You can even represent yourself before the courts if you require an emergency divorce, have a special request, or need to serve your spouse out of country or substitutionally.  We can prepare you for these simple court applications.

We can assist with child support calculations using the Federal Child Support Guidelines.  We present the calculations to the court for verification that they are correct.  The only concern usually is whether the income disclosed is accurate, and whether there are grounds for deviating from the guidelines. If spousal support is an issue, we can also calculate spousal support using the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines.  Though not law, these guidelines are often referred to by lawyers when advising on spousal support.

Still not sure?  We can draft the Statement of Claim for Divorce, complete the child support and/or spousal support calculations.  You can then take the documents to a lawyer for advice.  Following the advice, we can modify the document on your behalf.

Award Winning Paralegal Company

The owner of the Canadian Legal Resource Centre Inc. (that would be me, Debbie Ward), has 26+ years experience processing over 5,000 uncontested divorces and legal separation agreements. Her two divorce assistants have a combined 16 years experience working on uncontested divorces. We are a full-service paralegal company. We can assist you with your uncontested divorce from beginning to end.

If you have property issues, we can help you and your spouse with a legal separation agreement. However, in order for it to be binding, you and your spouse will need to meet with two separate lawyers for advice and signing.

Why hire the Canadian Legal Resource Centre Inc. to help you with your uncontested divorce in Alberta? We were voted the #1 Paralegal Company by consumers like you 10 years in a row. We are recipients of the Consumer Choice Award for Business Excellence for the category “paralegal services”.

Though we are located in Calgary, we help applicants throughout Alberta. If you and/or your spouse have lived in Alberta for the past 12 or more months, we can help. Please call for your free Uncontested Divorce consultation.

Click here for more information on Uncontested Divorce in Alberta

Check out this other blog:

4 Tips to Save You Time and Money

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US Waiver of Inadmissibility for Canadians

You will need to apply for and receive an I-192 US Waiver of Inadmissibility to gain legal entry to the United States if you have any one of the following:

  • Drug offences committed on or after the age of 18; orLegal Marijuana - Waiver of inadmissibility
  • Serious felony drug offence committed under the age of 18 for which you were tried and convicted as an adult.

Though individuals who are inadmissible are only randomly checked to see if they have a criminal record when attempting to enter the United States at a US Border Crossing, it is illegal to travel to the United States if you are inadmissible. Failure to obtain a Waiver of Inadmissibility in advance of travel to the U.S. can result in refusal, detention, fines, charges, confiscation, embarrassment and more.

[highlight]This article deals with inadmissibility due to drug offences only.  You may also be inadmissible for other offences involving serious violence and crimes involving moral turpitude.  Please refer to the end of the article for more information on other grounds of inadmissibility.[/highlight][divider_flat]

What is a Drug Offence?

A drug offence can include any of the following:

  • admitting to drug use;
  • conviction;
  • conditional and absolute discharges (according to the Criminal Code of Canada there has been an admission or finding of guilt); or
  • an offence that was withdrawn or dismissed following payment of fine or completion of a program (the fact that you agreed to pay a fine or enter into a program is seen as an admission of guilt).

Date of Offence vs Date of Conviction

COURT DOCUMENTS – If you committed a minor drug offence prior to your 18th birthday, but were convicted on or after your 18th birthday, you need to provide court documents proving you were under the age of 18 at the time you committed the offence in order to avoid refusal at a US port of entry.

YOUNG OFFENDER ACT – A problem may arise if you were convicted prior to the enactment of the Young Offender Act in April 1984. Adult records prior to this date show all convictions since age 16.

Some border guards mistakenly believe that if a youth offence appears on your adult record, that you were tried as an adult and must therefore be treated exactly like an adult. They assume that since all adults are inadmissible due to all drug offences that you too are inadmissible.  What they fail to realize is that you are ONLY inadmissible if (a) you were tried as an adult prior to the age of 18; AND (b) it was a serious felony offence.

SOLUTION: If you have a minor drug offence which was committed prior to the age of 18, you were not tried as an adult and you are having problems entering the United States, contact our office. We can help you correct this situation so that you are not forced to go through the Waiver Process throughout the rest of your life (Waivers are only granted for periods 1 to 5 years).

Adult Exemption Rule

Some people ask me, “I heard I don’t need a Waiver of Inadmissibility if I have only one summary drug offence as an adult. Is this true?”. Unfortunately, the answer is “no, it is not true”. This exemption rule does NOT apply to Drug-Related Offences.

Legal Disclaimer

This article does not constitute legal advice. There may be exceptions and laws change from time to time.

Detailed Information on United States Waivers

Other Blogs:

Application for Waiver of Inadmissibility

For more information on how to obtain a U.S Waiver of Inadmissibility for drug offences, crimes of violence, and crimes involving moral turpitude, please call 1-800-320-2744 (or 403-229-2774 if calling from Calgary).

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Benefits of a Record Suspension for Truck Drivers

– Information for Truck Drivers and Transport Companies –


Why should a Truck Driver Get a Record Suspension?

Are you a truck driver with a criminal record in Canada? If yes, a Record Suspension should be at the top of your to-do list. Failure to get the right job or best pay can significantly impact the rest of their life.  The benefits of having a Record Suspension are obvious. But, I believe many truck drivers fail to appreciate just how important the benefits are.

What is a Record Suspension?

A Record Suspension seals your criminal record and is proof that your record should no longer reflect upon your character. The Record Suspension was formerly called a Canadian Pardon. The name changed on March 14, 2012 due to the passing of the Crime Bill C-10. This Bill resulted in legislative changes to the Criminal Records Act which governs the granting of pardons and record suspensions.

Top 4 Benefits of a Record Suspension for Truck Drivers

If you have a criminal record and it becomes sealed with a Record Suspension or Pardon, truck drivers normally enjoy the following benefits:

More Job Opportunities

  • If an employer has the opportunity to chose between hiring two qualified truck drivers, you are less likely to get the job if your criminal record has not yet been sealed.
  • Once sealed, a criminal record search will reveal “no record”.
  • Would it be nice to be able to apply for jobs and not always have to disclose a criminal record that has been pardoned or suspended?
  • Individuals with barriers to employment take longer to find new jobs.

Greater Pay

  • Individuals with barriers to employment often find that employers who are willing to hire them often pay less.

Ability to apply for Nexus

  • If you travel to the United States frequently, having a Record Suspension may be necessary in order for you to qualify for a Nexus Card.
  • A Nexus Card allows you to avoid long line ups at ports of entry.

Less Scrutiny by U.S. Border Guards

  • Though a Criminal Record Suspension is not recognized by U.S. authorities, having your record sealed may result in fewer questions at ports of entry as the fact that you have or had a criminal record will come up less because it is often not as easily and instantly accessible by US authorities.
  • If applying for a Waiver, the RCMP often processes requests for pardoned records faster than when not pardoned.

Summary: You have more job opportunities, you get hired faster, employers won’t use this barrier to pay you less, and a criminal record search will reveal “no record” meaning it is likely you won’t even have to discuss a criminal record once it has been sealed. A Record Suspension may also qualify you to apply for Nexus.  Save time and earn more money! If you are paid by the km you don’t get paid to sit at a border. Seal your record with a Record Suspension, then apply for a Nexus Card and fast track your way into the United States.You should apply for a Record Suspension at least 6 months before you are eligible.

Record Suspensions Not Recognized by the U.S. Government

If you have a criminal record, you might also need a U.S. Waiver for legal entry to the United States even if it has been pardoned or suspended. Further, if you have a criminal record that makes you inadmissible to the United States, you may not qualify for a Nexus Card unless, in addition to a Canadian Pardon or Record Suspension, you also have a U.S. Waiver of Inadmissibility. Having both a Pardon (or Suspension) and Waiver does not guarantee you can get a Nexus Card, but the chances are significantly better.

Please check out the following links:

Of course, check out our tab on U.S. Waiver of Inadmissibility and you will find a range of topics concerning travel waivers, including cost, procedures, time lines, eligibility periods and more. Your income potential is far greater than any cost associated with sealing your record or applying for Waivers.

How to Reduce Discrimination.

What to Do When you Have a Criminal Record

To summarize, if you are a truck driver you should complete the following:

  1. Apply for a Record Suspension at least 6 months before you are eligible; and
  2. If you wish to go to the United States, apply for a U.S. I-192 Waiver of Inadmissibility if you are inadmissible; and
  3. Apply for your Nexus Card if you wish to travel to the United States frequently and avoid long lineups at the border.

For more information on Record Suspensions, U.S I-192 Waiver of Inadmissibility or Nexus Card, please Contact Us.

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Congratulations to all Special Olympics Powerlifting Athletes

I recently volunteered for to be an assistant coach for Special Olympics Powerlifting Athletes in Calgary. I am Deborah L. Ward, President and CEO of the Canadian Legal Resource Centre Inc. I completed in Powerlifting for a period of 7 years. During this time I broke all Canadian records for my weight class and one World record (drug free, of course!). I am now ‘retired’ from competing in the sport but have recently taken up coaching. I have had the absolute pleasure of coaching Special Olympic athletes for 3 months. Their program runs 3 months of every year–though a lot of the athletes train all year round.

In June 2012 the athletes from across Alberta competed in Devon, Alberta. As they have all had at least one successful lift in each in squat, bench and deadlift, they all qualify to go on to the next level. The competition in Devon was year one in a four year cycle leading all the way to the Special Olympics competition.

Here is a group photograph of all lifters and coaches.


A special congratulations to all the Special Olympic Athletes, and especially to Nick and Scott–the two athletes I was assigned to support. Nick broke all of his 3 personal best lifts and Scott broke 2 of his 3 personal best lifts. Its hard to break your personal bests in a competition where there is all the extra stress of competing and very strict rules on how to perform a proper lift.

Special Olympics Powerlifting Volunteers

If you are interested in volunteering or supporting Special Olympics, please check out their site! (click here).

To learn more about our company please select one of the following links:

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