Important notice for pardon applicants in the backlog
(applications submitted between July 2010 and February 22, 2012)

At this time, the PBC is currently only processing pardon applications for summary offences in the backlog.

The Board anticipates having these applications completed by March 31st, 2015, and is currently processing those received in January 2012.

Applications for indictable offences are not being processed at this time, to allow the Board to focus on the backlog of summary offences.


Why has the Parole Board of Canada taken this action?

The PBC has taken the decision to process only applications for summary offences at this time to allow it to process the backlog as quickly as possible while also ensuring that it can continue to meet its legislated responsibilities in other areas.

Why is there a backlog of pardon applications?

The backlog developed as a result of amendments to the Criminal Records Act (CRA) in June 2010. These changes to the CRA significantly increased the complexity and amount of work required by the PBC to process a pardon application.

The user fee in place at that time, which was already unsustainable, did not cover the additional costs needed to process a pardon under these amendments. As a result, a backlog of pardon applications developed.

Why hasn't the backlog of pardon applications been cleared yet?

The PBC has taken significant steps to address the backlog under its existing budget envelope.  The Board has reduced the backlog by more than 50% − from a total of 22,320 to 10,789 as of October 1st, 2014. The Board expects to have close to 70% of the backlog cleared by March 31, 2015.

Why are record suspensions being processed ahead of pardons?

Record suspensions operate under a full-cost recovery model ($631 user fee).

Under the User Fees Act, these applications must by law be processed according to specific service standards.

  • Up to 6 months for a summary offence;
  • Up to 12 months for an indictable offence;
  • Up to 24 months where the Board proposes to refuse.

Can an applicant in the backlog withdraw their application and re-apply for a record suspension?

A pardon applicant may withdraw his or her application at any time and for any reason.

Pardon applicants should first check that they qualify for a record suspension under the current Criminal Records Act before withdrawing their pardon application, as the eligibility requirements have changed. Applicants should consult the Record Suspension Application Guide.

Because work to process pardon applications in the backlog has already been completed up to the investigation stage, no refund can be given for those who decide to withdraw their application.