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Canadians who have completed their sentences after having been convicted of a criminal offense can apply for a pardon; the Governor General can also grant clemency if there is new evidence of innocence or other reason to remove records or sentences.
The Canadian pardons process outlined in the Criminal Records Act is facing proposed amendments which will bring about substantial changes. Bill C-23, titled "Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes Act" will do just that if and when it passes. The bill will disallow pardons after three indictable offenses or for those convicted of certain sexual crimes. It will also extend the waiting period for all record suspensions.
The ideal system for discharging former convictions does not exist if the onus is left solely on the released offender to take care of the proceedings.