Unpaid Court Fines: A Pardon Services Canada Alert

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Until court ordered payments are made, the waiting period required for a record suspension cannot begin.

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... the waiting period cannot commence until the fines and surcharges have been fully paid.

The Parole Board of Canada will not consider a Record Suspension application until all fines and victim surcharges have been paid and the waiting period has elapsed. It’s important to note that the waiting period cannot commence until the fines and surcharges have been fully paid. If a person received a fine for a conviction 20 years ago and has not paid the fine yet, then they have not fulfilled their sentence and the eligibility waiting period does not begin until the day after payments have been made. The waiting period for a Summary Offence is 5 years and 10 years for an Indictable Offence.

Cindy Inness, a Senior Client Advisor with Pardon Services Canada says, “Many individuals think they would have received a call or letter to remind them of due payments, but that is not the case.” Ms. Inness also states that “The court has no commitment to pursue an individual who has been given a fine, ordered to pay compensation or remuneration, or had a surcharge imposed in conjunction with a criminal conviction. On the day that the individual was sentenced, they or their legal counsel would have been given a record that informed them of how to pay their obligation to the courts. In most cases, that is the only information they will get on paying their fines.”

As time passes after a conviction and life gets busy, people may not be able to remember if a fine that was to be paid 5 or 10 years ago, was ever dealt with. If during the course of a record suspension application through Pardon Services Canada, it is determine that a fine was not paid, the documents are retained and submitted once eligibility has been determined. Ms. Inness advises people to deal with any and all court ordered payments as soon as possible so as not to delay their ability to get a fresh start with a record suspension.

About Pardon Services Canada

An industry leader in helping Canadians overcome the obstacles of a criminal record. Since 1989, Pardon Services Canada has successfully assisted over 100,000 Canadians exercise their lawful rights under the Criminal Records Act of Canada, and the Immigration and Nationality Act of the United States. Services include US Entry Waivers, Record Suspensions (formerly called pardons), and fingerprinting. Offices are located in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal. Call toll free 1-866-972-7366 or visit the website Pardon Services Canada

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Anna Austin
Pardon Services Canada
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