Author: Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB
Last Updated On: June 23, 2020

Record Suspension or Pardon for Immigration to Canada

Record SuspensionJustin, who is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, is 35 years old. Justin visited Canada about 15 years ago. While he was in Canada, a court in Manitoba convicted him of shoplifting.  Justin served two months in jail. Eventually, the CBSA deported him from Canada. Luckily, Justin has been a law-abiding citizen and has not committed any offences since then. He completed a master’s degree in his home country. Justin is a successful businessman right now. Consequently, he wants to immigrate to Canada. A lawyer told Justin, he needs to apply for a record suspension before initiating the immigration process.

Conviction of criminal offences could result in inadmissibility to Canada. Section 36 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) explains what constitutes inadmissibility due to criminal offences. Based on this section, if the conviction happens in Canada, then you may not be inadmissible to Canada if you receive a record suspension.

What is a record suspension?

Record suspension, also known as a pardon, means a search of the Canadian criminal records will return nothing against you. They will remove your name from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. If the offence is sexual, then a record suspension does not eliminate the name. Despite receiving a record suspension, you may face problems in travelling or immigrating to countries other than Canada. Remember, a record suspension does not mean acquittal. If the authorities believe the person does not show a good character anymore or if the person commits another criminal offence, they will cancel the record suspension.

Understanding types of offences for a record suspension

Offences in Canada fall under two groups of summary offences and indictable offences.

  • Summary Offences: These are offences that are not serious. The conviction usually results in fines and a few days of jail time. The maximum prison time for a summary offence is generally less than six months. Although in certain situations, it could be longer. Also, there is no right for a jury trial.
  • Indictable Offences: An indictable offence could usually result in long-term prison time.

When to apply for a record suspension

Depending on the date of committing the latest offence, your eligibility varies.

The most recent offence was before June 29, 2010

After paying all the fines and serving the jail time or expiration of any sentence, the waiting period is:

  • Five years for indictable offences
  • Three years of summary offences

The most recent offence was between June 29, 2010, and March 12, 2012

After paying all the fines and serving the jail time or expiration of any sentence, the waiting period is:

  • Ten years for serious offences that resulted in personal injury and the offender received a prison time of two years or more
  • Five years for indictable offences other than those mentioned above
  • Three years of summary offences

The most recent offence was after March 12, 2012

After paying all the fines and serving the jail time or expiration of any sentence, the waiting period is:

  • Ten years for indictable offences
  • Five years for summary convictions
  • Never for certain offences or if they have received indictable convictions for three offences each with two more prison time

I tried to simplify these conditions as much as possible. However, you need to consult with a criminal lawyer to make sure if and when you qualify for applying.

If you meet the wait-time does not mean you will receive a record suspension. For example, you have to prove to the authorities you have good character and not likely to commit any offences in the future. You need to consult with a criminal lawyer to see if you qualify.

Record suspension and inadmissibility to Canada

If you receive a record suspension, you are not inadmissible to Canada because of the offences you committed in Canada. Of course, you could still be inadmissible due to

How to Apply for a Record Suspension?

I highly recommend applying for a record suspension with the help of a criminal lawyer, but if you intend to do it yourself, visit the Record Suspensions website.

What if the Offence was Outside Canada?

If the offence occurred outside Canada, you need to apply for Rehabilitation instead of a record suspension (note to practitioners – see section 18 of IRPR). For certain criminal offences outside Canada, you may meet the requirements of “deemed rehabilitation.”

If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada


This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.

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Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB

Al Parsai is a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University (Osgood Hall Law School). A respected member of CICC, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.