Applying for a Record Suspension? – Information you should know

Who is responsible for record suspensions?

The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is the official and only federal agency responsible for ordering, denying and revoking record suspensions under the Criminal Records Act (CRA).

What is a record suspension?

A record suspension (formerly a pardon) allows people with a criminal record to have it set aside. This helps them access employment and educational opportunities and to reintegrate into society.

A record suspension removes a person's criminal record from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. This means that a search of CPIC will not show that you have a criminal record or a record suspension.

The CRA applies only to records kept by federal organizations, but most provincial and municipal criminal justice agencies also restrict access to their records once they are told that a record suspension has been ordered.

Limits of a record suspension:

  • does not erase a convicted offence, but sets it aside;
  • does not guarantee entry or visa privileges to another country;
  • suspended records of former sexual offenders are flagged in CPIC in order to conduct a vulnerable sector check should they apply to work or volunteer in such a sector.

Who can apply?

You can apply for a record suspension if you were:

  • convicted of an offence, in Canada, under a Canadian federal act or regulation; or
  • convicted of an offence in another country and transferred to Canada.

Are any offences ineligible?

Yes. You are not eligible if you have been convicted of:

When can a person apply?

A person must have completed all sentences, which includes:

  • all fines, surcharges, costs, restitution and compensation orders;
  • all sentences of imprisonment, conditional sentence order;
  • any probation order(s)

Followed by a waiting period:

  • for summary offences: 5 years;
  • for indictable offences: 10 years.

How does a person apply?

Get an Application Guide, which includes the application forms, and carefully complete all of the listed steps.

You can get an Application Guide by calling the PBC toll free at 1-800-874-2652, through the PBC website, regional PBC offices, or Court and police services offices.

Can a record suspension be revoked or cease to have effect?

Yes. If you are:

  • convicted of a new indictable offence, or, in some cases, a summary offence;
  • found to no longer be of good conduct; or,
  • found to have made a false or misleading statement, or hidden information when you applied.

Did you know?

You can apply directly to the PBC for a record suspension.

Using a third-party service provider will not:

  • guarantee you a record suspension;
  • accelerate the review of your application; or
  • give your application a special status.

The PBC treats all applications the same.

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