Let’s face it. Having a criminal record in Canada SUCKS!
It wasn’t always such a stigma… it used to be something you could hide.
Well… not anymore.
Job hunters, travelers, or even the good guy trying to volunteer for his
kid’s hockey team…. everywhere you go a criminal record follows you like a shadow.
But you’re not alone! In Canada, you can actually do something about it.
Here’s 4 Quick Tips to Start You in the Right Direction:
1. Get All Your Paperwork Together
Find your court papers and any stuff you acquired in the not-so-fun process
of acquiring your criminal record. Like anything else, it’s important to be organized.
Make sure you understand exactly what your charges and/or convictions were, what
specifically happened at court, what the outcome was, and your restitution. Highlight
important items in your records… especially dates. You’ll need to know these details
if you decide to do something about your record.
2. Know Your FREEDOM Date
Your freedom date is the very day AFTER you complete any court-imposed restitution.
This includes a jail sentence, probationary period, fines, community service… anything!
In Canada, this date is important because it officially marks the start of your “Wait Period”.
And, it’s a day you might use in your mind for motivation not to get in trouble again!
Which brings us to the next tip…
3. Figure Out (Or Ask) Your Wait Period
In Canada, your wait period is defined as the specific amount of years you have to wait
before you can apply for a Canadian Pardon to seal your criminal record. It’s a very
important piece of information! Generally speaking, summary convictions have a wait
period of three (3) years, while indictable convictions have a wait period of (5) years or
longer, depending on the specific conviction. Remember, this wait period only starts
on your Freedom date!
4. Contact a Pardon Service Company to Clear Your Record
While it’s true that you can attempt the entire process of acquiring your Canadian Pardon
on your own, that’s generally not a good idea. Similar to representing yourself in court
as your own lawyer, you’ll save a bit of money, but the disadvantages outweigh the
For example, if you make even one small mistake throughout the process of trying to get
your Pardon, your application might become void or you’ll get denied by the Parole Board
of Canada. Ouch! Not only do you not get your Pardon, you’ll have to wait at least 12 months before you can apply again. Oh…one more thing, you won’t get back any of the fees you paid in the application process. Still, if you want to give it a shot here’s a link:
Riskin’ it Yourself.
A trustworthy Pardon service company out there I found is this one: National Pardons of Canada. They don’t make you pay fees up-front and are very straight up about your qualification in Canada. Also, they have flexible monthly payments with no interest. Be very careful if you’re speaking with a company that requires you to pay fees in advance, even before you complete your fingerprints. (This is generally a “red-flag”.)
Remember, stay positive! A lot of good people make mistakes. This is your chance to do
something about it. More tips to come. Good luck!
Adam Thomas is a volunteer freelance writer for PardonNews.com. He’s also bored half the time, and retired all the time.