Individuals convicted of simple possession of cannabis can now apply for no-fee, expedited pardons

News release

August 1, 2019
Montreal, Quebec
Public Safety Canada

Starting today, people who have a criminal record only for simple possession of cannabis can apply for a pardon, which will make it easier to work, go to school, travel and actively participate in their communities.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable David Lametti, on behalf of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, today announced the coming into force of An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis.

Individuals convicted only of simple possession of cannabis can now apply to the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) for a pardon through a streamlined, simplified process. The $631 fee and waiting periods associated with other pardon applications are eliminated. Applicants will be eligible even if they have outstanding fines or surcharges associated with their conviction, as long as they have completed the rest of their sentence.

To assist applicants, PBC has put in place a streamlined Cannabis Record Suspension Application Guide and forms with step-by-step instructions, as well as a toll-free information line and email address to answer questions. PBC is working with partners, including police, courts, community organizations and criminal justice professionals to maximize the positive impact of this new relief. For further assistance, Canadians can visit, call 1-800-874-2652 or email


“Starting today, individuals who were disproportionately impacted by cannabis laws of the past, including visible minorities, Indigenous people, and those in our most vulnerable neighbourhoods can finally shed the burden and stigma of that criminal record and have the ability to move forward positively in their lives.”

- The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“Providing free, immediate access to pardons will allow those with criminal records for simple possession of cannabis to move forward with their lives, making it easier to get a job, an education, rent an apartment or volunteer in their community. This is particularly significant for marginalized communities in Canada, who have been disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous cannabis laws.”

- The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

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Scott Bardsley
Manager of Media and Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

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