Guest Post by Julie Demers
First, I’d just like to give you a brief description of a pardon before I actually get into the pardon application process. A pardon is a document granted by the National Parole Board (NPB). The National Parole Board is a government organization that functions under the Ministry of Public Safety in Canada. A pardon is granted to individuals who have a criminal record, and have completed their terms of sentencing. Once granted a pardon, the individual’s criminal record is sealed from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database, and they can finally have peace of mind.
Pardon Application Process:
The first stage towards obtaining a pardon is getting your fingerprints taken, either at your local police station or Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Be sure to bring with you at least 2 pieces of identification, one must be photo I.D. Once you have your original set of fingerprints, you need to mail them with a $25.00 CDN money order or bank draft payable to the Receiver General for Canada, to:
Civil Fingerprint Screening Services
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
P.O. Box 8885
Ottawa, ON K1G 3M8
**Make sure that your request clearly indicates that you are applying for a pardon or else your criminal conviction record will come back vertically as opposed to horizontally. A vertical conviction record is used for U.S. Entry Waiver applications and therefore would not be accepted with a pardon application.
Anyway, back to the process… Once you have sent your fingerprints and money order to the RCMP in Ottawa, you will have to wait approximately 120 days before receiving your criminal conviction record.
Finally, you receive your criminal conviction record in the mail. Now verify that all your convictions appear on your conviction record. If they do, you are now ready to request the necessary court documents. If not, put simply you would have to contact the arresting police to get all the specific details to include with your application. This is called requesting Proof of Conviction.
The most important column to look at on your criminal conviction record is the first column. The first column shows the dates and places of when and where your convictions took place. The dates will determine which convictions need supporting court documentation. If you have any convictions dated from 1994 to 2004 that had any fines, restitutions and/or surcharges, you must obtain court information for those specific convictions. This is crucial for your pardon application. You will also have to request court documents for any convictions from 2004 to the present date, whether or not they have fines, restitutions and/or surcharges. If you don’t send the supporting court documentation for these convictions with the submission of your application, then your application will be temporarily denied and sent back to you.
Recap: If any sentences were completed less than 5 years ago and/or you have fines, surcharges, etc., in the past 15 years, court information must be included with your pardon application.
When you send your request to the court, be sure to include a photocopy of your criminal conviction record. If you send the original one, it is possible that it could be lost and you will have to re-do your fingerprints and play the waiting game for another 120 days. You don’t want that, as this will delay your whole application. You must also include the court information form, provided by the National Parole Board, and be sure to leave the FOR COURT USE ONLY section blank.
Once you finally receive your court documents and the completed court information form from the designated courts, you need to verify that you have paid all fines and surcharges before moving on to the final stage of the application. If you have not paid all your fines you are not eligible for a pardon. If this is the case, go to the courthouse and pay your fines. Once they are paid, you will have to wait either 3 years for summary charges or 5 years for indictable charges, before you can apply for your pardon.
You’ve paid all your fines and you have your court documents, this is your green light to move on to the Local Police Record Check. A local police record check is done in every city you’ve lived in during the last 5 years. This part of the application is a verification to make sure that you haven’t caused any problems, or had officers come to your house for any complaints, and things like that.
When requesting a local police record check, you need to bring the local police record check form, a photocopy of your criminal record and two pieces of identification. This is a service, therefore it is not free. Most record checks cost approximately $25-$75. A local police record check, once signed by the officer is only valid for 6 months, so be sure you submit your application right away when you receive the form(s). Once you have your record check done, you are ready to put your application together and submit it to the National Parole Board.
Submitting your Application:
Now that you have all the required documentation you can finally put it all together and send it off. You will need to obtain a $50.00 money order or bank draft payable to the Receiver General for Canada. This must be included with your submission, or your application will automatically be sent back to you.
**A personal cheque will NOT be accepted.
Include the following documents:
- Original Criminal Conviction Record
- Proof of Conviction documents if you have convictions that don’t appear on your criminal conviction record
- Court information form (completed by an authorized officer of the court) and any supporting documentation
- Local Police Record Check(s) and completed form
- Both pages of the Pardon Application Form completed, signed and dated by you, the applicant and,
- The $50.00 money order or bank draft, processing fee
Before sending your application, make sure you write down your reference number (this can be found on the top right corner of any of your National Parole Board forms). This reference number will be necessary if you wish to receive a status update from the National Parole Board. Also, you should make a photocopy of all the documents just in case something is lost.
Send the completed, signed application form along with the fee and all documents to:
Clemency and Pardons Division
National Parole Board
410 Laurier Avenue west, 5th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0R1
If the National Parole Board deems you fit for a pardon and you meet all the eligibility criteria, you should receive your granted pardon in the mail within a few months, usually 3-6 months. If you do not qualify then your pardon application will be sent back with a proposal for denial letter. If this happens, you have 60 days to send back a rebuttal letter, stating the reasons for which you deserve a granted pardon. I would also advise you to include supporting reference letters from friends, colleagues, etc. This will definitely be a bonus for when they re-review your application. If you are still denied, you are only eligible to re-apply one year later.
There you have it, now you should be capable of completing the pardon application process and have a clear record and ultimately peace of mind.
Article Provided by Canadian Pardon Service