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Application Guide for Record Suspension (Pardon)

Want to apply for your own pardon?

From Impact Pardons Plus (IPP), here are some helpful tips regarding court records that may help avoid a disappointing outcome when completing a pardon (now referred to as a record suspension) application yourself.

Forms you will Need

You will need to print out a Parole Board of Canada (PBC) Record Suspension Application Guide and forms. Go to their site (https://www.canada.ca/en/parole-board.html), scroll down and select ‘Record Suspensions’. Navigate to the right side and click on “Official PBC Application Guide and forms”. Bookmark the site, as you will need to print out forms as you need them. Read the guide to learn what a record suspension is and what it will do for you.

Fingerprints are a Must

You must be fingerprinted. Get fingerprinted at IPP, save some money and no one will talk you out of doing your own record suspension. Ask some questions while at our offices. For instance; confirm it is a record suspension you want and not a US waiver. Do you know the difference between the two documents? Once the fingerprints are sent in, you won’t be able to use the fingerprint results for anything but a record suspension. If you’re not sure, ask IPP some questions. You decide what road to take and IPP will get the fingerprints done for that reason and send them off to the RCMP.

Keep your Files Organized

Get a file folder and put a 9 x 12 inch envelope in it. Always keep the file in a safe place. Put an 8.5 x 14 sheet of paper in the file and keep a record of what document was sent to whom, when and for what reason. Include contact information for easy follow-up. Your first entry might be: 12 Dec 2016; Impact Pardons Plus 343 333 1778 for fingerprints, Andrew; applying for a record suspension.

Next Steps

Three months or so after being fingerprinted, the RCMP criminal certificate (called an FPS) will be returned to you. Make 2 or 3 photocopies of the original FPS then place the original in the 9 x 12 envelope. Mark the envelope “Record Suspension Application”. Put the envelope back in the file.

Information Request Package

When making the Court Information Request package, take into account the number of courts and the number of convictions, then make enough copies of the Court Information Request form to cover each situation. If the courts are out of town, it’s best to call each court and nail down their requirements for completing a record suspension information request. A money order may be required (be sure of whom to make it out to) as well as good photocopies of ID, the FPS and the PBC Court Information Request form.

Retain Copies for Yourself

VERY IMPORTANT: Make copies of the information for retention with your file and before mailing, photocopy the addressed envelope(s) so you know what you sent to each court, and when. Note contact information for each court (phone, fax, email, person, etc) on the 8.5 x 14 sheet in the file and after 4 to 5 weeks, contact the court(s) with a polite request for a ‘status update’.

The Waiting Part

Waiting for information to come back is the tough part. Courts don’t send acknowledgements stating: “We have received you request for…”, so the 4 or 5-week wait is difficult to get through. It is important to wait 4 or 5 weeks because court clerks are very busy people and their main concern is not your written request for information for your pardon. There are court duties and walk-in traffic that must be dealt with, phones to answer and covering for other clerks who are temporarily off sick.

Follow Up

Waiting 8 to 10 weeks before making the ‘Status update’ call only to hear: "We have no record of that request” is devastating. It’s just time wasted. Everything must be sent again (good thing we made copies of the documents) and this time, ask to be notified the package has been received. Some courts with some convictions can get information back in 4 to 6 weeks but if a request must go to a superior court or to archives, they too are now waiting on busy court clerks to release information. The time frame may extend to 4, 5, 6 months or more. This is why patience is a virtue.

Don't Skip Steps

Should you try to get other documents while waiting for your court records? No. Other agencies want to see both the FPS and the court documents so they know their records are true and correct also. You could try to write your Measurable Benefits and Sustained Rehabilitation (MBSR) form but it can be difficult to write effectively regarding court charges that are 15, 18 or 20 or more years old and you are not sure what you were charged with. Wait for the court records before moving on to other requests.

Of course, once you get your court records, you must then interpret them. Look for summery or indictable offences, determine the date you were sentenced and what, if any, your probation was. (To find out why, read the guide). Are any charges absolute or conditional? Have all fines been paid? Of the fines that were paid, have all the final payment dates been noted? Does the Court Information Request form have a signature, date and embossment affixed? Other factors to consider will be Local Police Record Checks, Library and Archives for military folks, affidavits if your court records are now non-existent. If you would like some help with your record suspension, give IPP an email or call. We can help each other to a better tomorrow, today.

Is peace of mind on your wish list?

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