You can apply to have your record sealed in Canada (for convictions within Canada) with an Application for Record Suspension after you have completed the required waiting periods. The waiting period you must wait before qualifying for Record Suspension Eligibility does not begin until AFTER you complete your entire sentence (even if released from it early). Here are some tips to negotiate a sentence that you can complete as soon as possible:
Negotiate a sentence that can be completed as soon as possible. Your Record Suspension eligibility starts as soon as all conditions and restitution are complete.
Probation – To illustrate, if convicted of assault and the possible sentence in your case is probation of 1 year, you might request a shorter probationary period of say 3 months in exchange for attending an anger management course and donating money to a Women’s Shelter.
How does it affect an Application for Record Suspension? You must wait 5 years after completion of the sentence before you can submit an application for a summary offense as follows:
Scenario 1: 1 year probation + 5 year waiting period = 6 years
Scenario 2: 3 months probation (plus anger management and donation to women’s shelter completed within the 3 month probationary period) + 5 year waiting period = 5 years and 3 months.
In Scenario 2 you can apply for a Record Suspension 9 months sooner if you are found or plead guilty to this offence if it is tried as a summary offence. NOTE: the waiting period was recently changed from 3 years to 5 years (Bill C-10 Crime Bill / Amendment to Criminal Records Act). If convicted of an indictable offence, the waiting period is 10 years pursuant to the new rules (it was 5 years previously).
Restitution and Fines – Pay these as soon as possible as the waiting period does not begin until paid. I had a client that was given 5 years to pay a large restitution order. Rather than refinance his house immediately and satisfy it, he thought it financially prudent to wait till near the end of the 5-year deadline to pay so as to avoid extra interest payments on his mortgage. He did not realize this delayed his ability to apply for a Record Suspension until it was too late. Once he satisfied his large restitution payment, he then commenced an application for Pardon only to learn he had to wait an additional 5 years due to his delay in satisfying his restitution.
Immediately Obtain Proof of Payment of Fine, Restitution or VFS as Soon as Paid
Immediately obtain proof from the Courts when any sentence (fine, VFS, restitution) is satisfied. You do this for the following two reasons:
I have processed well over 2,000 Record Suspension Applications (previously called Canadian Pardon) and have come across countless files where clients have missed completing part of a sentence in error or insist that they satisfied it, only to be told by the courts years later when applying for a Record Suspension (or Pardon) that it was not satisfied. They then have to satisfy it and then wait the full waiting period (5 years for summary offences and 10 years for indictable offences). This effectively reset their Record Suspension eligibility waiting period! The Parole Board of Canada rarely accepts an application with a request for leniency due to the error. This can cause considerable delays in Record Suspension eligibility. It can be frustrating when the individual insists it was paid and there is not enough evidence to prove a court administrative error.
Request to Pay Victim Fine Surcharge through the Courts
Is money owed directly to a Victim? Ask if it can be paid to the Victim through the Courts. You don’t want to have to contact the “Victim” years later to obtain proof that you paid the restitution as ordered when applying for a Record Suspension. This can be offensive to the Victim and he or she may be tempted to deny the fact that you paid the restitution in order to be re-compensated. Or, simply, the Victim may be un-reachable or may refuse to give you the confirmation you seek. If you’re unable to get confirmation, it may affect your Record Suspension eligibility and you could be forced to re-pay it and then wait the 5 or 10 year waiting period before qualifying for a Record Suspension. Sometimes there are exceptions–but it can be difficult to deal with.
Some individuals may choose to plead not guilty when they realize the long-term consequences of having to apply for Waivers and the possibility that they may not be able to obtain legal entry to the United States for at least 5 years.
You will find an explanation of what a discharge is in this excerpt from the Canadian Criminal Code:
730. (1) Where an accused, other than an organization, pleads guilty to or is found guilty of an offence, other than an offence for which a minimum punishment is prescribed by law or an offence punishable by imprisonment for fourteen years or for life, the court before which the accused appears may, if it considers it to be in the best interests of the accused and not contrary to the public interest, instead of convicting the accused, by order direct that the accused by discharged absolutely or on the conditions prescribed in a probation order made under subsection 731(2).
Though not a conviction, it is still evidence of guilt because the accused ”pleads guilty to or is found guilty of an offence.”An absolute discharge will appear on your criminal record for one year and a conditional discharge will appear on your record for 3 years.
CAUTION: The discharge will show up in employment pre-screening or at U.S. border crossings during the one or three year period that the discharge appears on your record. And, if your discharge is not automatically purged after the one or three year period, the discharge will appear on your record until you write to the RCMP to have it purged.
Having a discharge can affect you the following ways:
Most lawyers know that discharges are purged automatically after one year for absolute discharges and after three years for conditional discharges. However, if other charges were withdrawn or dismissed at the same time, this could result in an ‘incomplete’ purge of the RCMP Record, meaning the discharge was purged but entries in the computer database showing withdrawn or dismissed charges remain. As a result, the FPS number associated with the criminal record remains. Here is what happens:
For more information, please click the following links:
We would be pleased to receive your referrals for Record Suspension and U.S. Waiver Applications.
We have processed over 5,000 applications for Pardons (now called Record Suspensions) and US Waivers (the owner has 25 years of experience, and the company has been in business since 1995).
We are leading experts in the industry and provide exceptional customer service–we have combined office experience of 50+ years, all files are handled promptly and on-time, and clients can always reach an actual employee in a few short rings any time they call during office hours (we always have the phones ring live as we are not fans of automated voice systems).
We also provide on-site ink and electronic fingerprinting services.
The following criminal offence penalty chart has been published with permission from Ron Jourard, criminal lawyer. Determining whether a particular offence has been prosecuted by summary conviction or indictment requires a review of the actual court documents as the Criminal Code of Canada has been amended several times. Whether an offence is summary, indictable, or hybrid (meaning it can be tried summarily or by indictment), is determined by the law at the time the charge was laid. The Chart below offers a general guideline but may not apply to your particular situation.
If you were convicted of a hybrid offence, you will need to order your court document to confirm if your conviction was tried summarily or by indictment. Alternatively, if your sentence exceeded the maximum penalty if tried summarily, then you know it was tried by indictment. This also applies to Conditional Discharges. Though most Provinces might deem a conditional discharge to be a summary offence unless an election is made, the United States authorities may determine it to be an indictable offence.
If you agree to accept a Conditional Discharge, technically, you are not convicted. Accordingly, the courts or your lawyer may not think to ask the courts to make an election “summary” or make a notation on the court records that the offence is considered to be summary, even though you are NOT being convicted. By default, it could be considered an indictable offence to US authorities even though you are NOT convicted. Some Provinces may treat all discharges as summary offences, but this is not always the case.
What difference does it make if it was tried summarily or by indictment? If convicted, it will affect when you are eligible to apply for a Canadian Pardon (now called Record Suspension). A determination of whether or not your offence OR discharge is summary may affect also your ability to travel to the United States. If it is determined you are inadmissible to the United States, you will need a US Waiver for legal entry. First, review the Criminal Offence Penalty Chart below. Then review the following links:
For information on pardons, waivers, fingerprinting, background checks and immigration, please contact the Canadian Legal Resource Centre Inc. at 1-800-320-2477.
Criminal Offence Penalty Charts
This article last updated February 16, 2012
Ron Jourard, author of the above criminal offence penalty chart, is a Toronto criminal lawyer. He can be reached at (416) 398-6685 or toll free (Canada and U.S.) 1-888-257-0002, or by email at email@example.com. For information on pardons, waivers, fingerprinting, background checks and immigration, please contact the Canadian Legal Resource Centre Inc. at 1-800-320-2477.
If you notice any changes/errors with the above criminal offence penalty chart, please contact our office.
Do you want to visit Canada? You may be inadmissible if you have a criminal record. To gain legal entry into Canada, here are your options:
#1. Obtain a Record Suspension if your criminal record is in Canada.
OR, for a Free Consultation on Record Suspensions, click the “Free Consultation” button at the bottom of this page.
#2. Apply for Criminal Rehabilitation if (a) you were ordered removed or deported from Canada; and/or (b) you have a criminal record outside Canada.
Canada Immigration and Employment Consulting Services Inc.
203, 4014 Macleod Trail SE, Calgary, Alberta CANADA T2G 2R7
If you are a Canadian with a Criminal Record, you may need a U.S. Waiver of Inadmissibility. Please check here for more information:
Were you denied entry to the United States because of a criminal record and told that you need a U.S. Waiver of Inadmissibility? If yes, this does not mean that a U.S. Waiver of Inadmissibility is your only option. A review of your criminal record and court documents may reveal that you are NOT inadmissible after all. Instead, you may need to apply for a Non-Inadmissibility Letter. Please note that US Border Guards rarely explain this second option. Do not apply for a Waiver on your own. Hire an expert as an expert can sometimes help you remove your inadmissibility or assist you in improving your chances at a favorable review of your application (ie. minimize the risk of denial of your application or assist you in getting a waiver for the longest period of time possible). Contact us for a free consultation.
If you are a visitor to Canada, Permanent Resident in Canada, or individual from a Visa/Waiver Country, you may need to apply for a Visa/Waiver through the US Consulate instead. Please click here for more information:
You arrived at this site because you need a criminal record background check in Canada. It is important to understand that if you wish to visit Canada and you have a criminal record, you may need to apply for a Record Suspension (if your criminal record is in Canada) or Criminal Rehabilitation (if your criminal record is outside Canada or you were ordered removed or deported). Some people request background checks in Canada for an Application involving a United States Waiver. Before proceeding with a Waiver, you really should consult with an expert. Please contact us below for your free consultation.