Area of Law: Criminal Records
Answer # 2173
What are the limitations of a Pardon or a Record Suspension (RS)?Region: Ontario Answer # 2173
Local Police and Courts
Both Pardons and Record Suspensions are awarded under the Criminal Records Act, which is a Canadian federal law. This means that provincial and municipal police and courts are not under a legal obligation to maintain pardoned or suspended records separately, or to prevent their disclosure. Having said this, however, police services and courts across Canada do comply with the federal law.
This may be because police and courts in our country give value to the federal law and to the success of the Pardon Program, as well as the fact that these records can be accessed if the person does reoffend. The practical result of their compliance therefore, is that if a person has a Pardon or an RS (except in the case of sex offences), his or her record, or the fact that it has been pardoned or suspended, will not be disclosed in a standard local police records check.
Those with Pardons or Record Suspensions for a sex offence cannot be employed by, or volunteer to work with vulnerable people without having their record divulged. As set out in the CRA, a notation of the sex offences listed in the schedule, for which a Pardon or an RS was awarded, will be made in the RCMP data bank so that the record can be flagged.
Most foreign governments will require an RCMP records check to be submitted with a work or study visa application. After a Pardon or an RS has been awarded, an RCMP records search will produce a ”no criminal record” result. However, if the foreign government had knowledge of the record before the Pardon or RS was awarded, they may have downloaded a copy into its own data banks. Under those circumstances, applicants will likely have to provide further explanations or complete an additional process specific to that country’s laws (e.g., USA Entry Waivers).
Prohibition orders, such as a driver’s licence suspension or firearms ban, that are still in effect, will not prevent someone from obtaining a Pardon or an RS; however, they are not terminated because a Pardon or an RS was ordered.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, refer to our criminal law section.
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