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, refusing to order 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 has the effect of removing 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 by the Parole Board of Canada.

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:

Are any offences ineligible?

You may be ineligible for a record suspension if you committed either of the following offences on or after March 13, 2012 of which you were later convicted:

When can a person apply?

To apply for a record suspension, you must have completed all of your sentences (including all sentences of imprisonment, any probation orders, and payment in full of any fines, costs, surcharges, compensation orders and/or restitution).

Important: If you were ordered to pay any fines, costs, surcharges, compensation orders or restitution as part of your sentence, you should pay it in full as soon as possible. The waiting period only starts once full payment has been made. Proof of payment must be provided with your record suspension application.

After completing all of your sentences, you are required to wait a set number of years based on the date when you committed your first offence before applying for a record suspension.

If you committed your first offence (excluding any simple possession of cannabis convictions)...

Before June 29, 2010

The waiting period is:

  • 5 years — an offence prosecuted by indictment.
  • 3 years — an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Between June 29, 2010 and March 12, 2012

The waiting period is:

  • 10 years — serious personal injury offence (within the meaning of 752 of the Criminal Code); including manslaughter; an offence for which the applicant was sentenced to a prison term of 2 years or more, and an offence referred to in Schedule 1 that was prosecuted by indictment.
  • 5 years — any other offence prosecuted by indictment and an offence referred to in Schedule 1 that is punishable on summary conviction.
  • 3 years — an offence other than the ones mentioned above, that is punishable on summary conviction.
On or after March 13, 2012
The waiting period is:
  • 10 years — an offence prosecuted by indictment.
  • 5 years — an offence that is punishable on summary conviction.

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.

How much does it cost to apply?

The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) charges $50.00 to process a record suspension application.

You are also responsible for any additional fees for getting your fingerprints, criminal record, court documents and police checks.

You can apply directly to the PBC for a record suspension by using the PBC Record Suspension Application Guide. You do not need to use a lawyer or third party service provider.

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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