Record Suspension Program 2015-2016 Report to Parliament

Table of Contents

Introduction

Pursuant to section 11 of the Criminal Records Act (CRA), within three months after the end of each fiscal year, the Parole Board of Canada must submit a report on the Record Suspension Program to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The report must contain the following information:

  1. Number of applications for record suspensions made in respect of offences referred to in each of paragraphs 4(1) (a) and (b)
  2. The number of record suspensions that the Board ordered or refused to order in respect of offences referred to in paragraphs 4 (1) (a) and (b) (2015-16)
  3. Number of record suspensions ordered, categorized by the offence to which they relate
  4. The number of record suspensions ordered by the province of residence of the applicant

Background

The Parole Board of Canada (PBC), as part of the criminal justice system, makes independent, quality conditional release and record suspension decisions, and clemency recommendations. The PBC is headed by a Chairperson who reports to Parliament through the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. The Board contributes to the protection of society by facilitating, as appropriate, the timely re-integration of offenders into society as law-abiding citizens.

The record suspension program supports the successful reintegration of an individual into society, as it can assist an individual to access employment and educational opportunities, among other things. It is a formal attempt to remove the stigma of a criminal record for people found guilty of a federal offence and who have completed their sentence and demonstrated law-abiding behaviour for a prescribed number of years. A record suspension is evidence that the conviction should no longer reflect negatively on a person's character. In support of this statement, the Criminal Records Act (CRA) restricts access to records under federal jurisdiction and removes any disqualifications that would result from a conviction under federal statute or regulation.

Although the CRA applies only to records kept by federal organizations, most provincial and municipal criminal justice agencies also restrict access to their records once they are told that a record suspension has been ordered. A record suspension does not, however, erase the fact that an individual was convicted of a crime. The criminal record is not erased, but it is kept separate and apart from other (non-suspended) criminal records. A record suspension removes disqualifications caused by a criminal conviction, such as the ability to contract with the federal government, or eligibility for Canadian citizenship. It does not, however, guarantee either entry or visa privileges to another country.

Through this program, the PBC reviews record suspension applications for completeness and eligibility, and collects information for investigation and decision-making. The Board has exclusive jurisdiction and absolute discretion to order, refuse to order, or revoke a record suspension under the Criminal Records Act (CRA).

The process for revocation is started when the Board is notified (usually by the RCMP) that an individual who was previously awarded a record suspension has been convicted of, charged with, or is suspected of a new offence (is no longer of good conduct).The Board may also commence a revocation if the applicant knowingly concealed some material in relation to their application.

The CRA also authorizes the Board to declare that a record suspension ceases to have effect if a person is subsequently convicted of:

  • an indictable offence under a federal act or regulation of Canada;
  • an offence punishable either on indictable or summary conviction; and
  • if the PBC is convinced by new information that the person was not eligible for a record suspension at the time it was ordered.

Since February 2012, applicants for a record suspension must pay a user fee of $631. The user fee includes service standards established under the User Fees Act (UFA). Specifically, record suspension applications involving summary convictions are processed within six months of the date of receipt of the application, while applications involving indictable offences are processed within 12 months of the date of receipt.

Findings for 2015-16

Number of applications

In 2015-16, the Board received 12,384 record suspension applications and accepted 8,917 (72%) applications for processing. There were 3,467 record suspension applications (28%) that were not accepted at screening due to ineligibility, no payment or wrong processing fee and/or missing appropriate documentation. In the previous year, the Board received 12,415 record suspension applications and accepted 9,071 applications (or 73%).

The number of record suspension applications received has decreased during the last five years. (See Incoming application totals chart)

Chart: Incoming application totals

Incoming application totals

* The numbers in 2011-12 includes pardon as well as record suspension.

  • Chart: Incoming application totals
April to March Number of Record Suspensions
2011/2012 29,849
2012/2013 19,526
2013/2014 14,253
2014/2015 12,415
2015/2016 12,384

This decrease in applications may be attributed to key amendments made to the CRA in 2012 which included:

  • making individuals convicted of a sexual offence against a minor and individuals convicted of more than three indictable offences (each with a sentence of two years or more) ineligible for a record suspension; and,
  • increasing the waiting period to apply for a record suspension from 3 to 5 years for all summary conviction offences, and from 5 to 10 years for all indictable offences.

Processing timeframes

PBC service standards are 180 days for summary offences and 365 days for files with indictable offences.

In 2015/16, the average processing time of an accepted record suspension application was 151 days for summary files and 282 days for indictable files where the final decision was to order a record suspension, and 242 days for those where the final decision was to refuse to order a record suspension.

Service standards were fully met for 99.99% per cent of these files.

Record Suspension Decisions

1. Number of applications for record suspensions made in respect of offences referred to in each of paragraphs 4(1) (a) and (b)

As per section 4.1(1)(a) of the Criminal Records Act (CRA), the Board may order that an applicant's record in respect of an offence be suspended if the Board is satisfied that during the applicable period the applicant has been of good conduct and has not been convicted of an offence under an Act of Parliament. Pursuant to section 4.1(1)(b), the Board may order that an applicant's record in respect of an offence be suspended if the Board is satisfied that during the applicable period the applicant has been of good conduct and it would provide him/her with a measurable benefit, sustain his/her rehabilitation into society as a law abiding citizen and would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute. The applicant must clearly describe how receiving a Record Suspension would provide him/her with a measurable benefit and sustain his/her rehabilitation into society as a law abiding citizen.

The number of applications for a record suspension accepted in respect of offences referred to in paragraphs 4(1) (a) and (b) in 2015-16.

Indictable offences* Summary offences**
3,850 5,067

*Summary conviction offences are considered less serious than indictable offences because they are punishable by shorter prison sentences and smaller fines. The maximum penalty for a summary conviction offence is a sentence of 6 months of imprisonment, a fine of $5,000 or both.

**An indictable offence is an offence which can only be tried on an indictment after a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is a prima facie case to answer.

2. The number of record suspensions that the Board ordered or refused to order in respect of offences referred to in paragraphs 4 (1) (a) and (b) (2015-16)

Ordered (4(1) (a)) Ordered (4(1)(b)) Refused to Order (4(1)(a)) Refused to order (4(1)(b))
3,354 5,074 278 247

3. Number of record suspensions ordered, categorized by the offence to which they relate

Offence Ordered
Abandoning child 1
Abduction contravening a custody order 1
Abduction of female 1
Abduction under 14 1
Abduction under 16 1
Abstracts, consumes or uses electricity or gas 5
Accessory after the fact 3
Accessory after the fact to murder 2
Acknowledge bail in false name 1
Acknowledging instrument in false name 1
Acquire firearm without firearms acquisition certificate 1
Administer a lottery plan 2
Administer noxious thing 1
Aggravated assault 15
All breaches of the National Defence Act between 60
Armed robbery 30
Arson 9
Arson - disregard for human life 3
Arson by negligence 1
Arson causing damage to property 5
Assault 1307
Assault against peace-public officer 40
Assault causing bodily harm 292
Assault peace officer 120
Assault with a weapon 185
Assault with intent to resist arrest 41
Assault with intent to steal 3
Assisting escape 1
Attempt break and enter with intent 36
Attempt fraud 22
Attempt fraud over $5000 10
Attempt fraud under $5000 14
Attempt robbery 4
Attempt theft 85
Attempt to commit a summary offence 3
Attempt to commit an indictable offence 7
Attempt to obstruct justice 29
Attempted murder 2
Bail violations 1
Bigamy 1
Bookmaking 2
Breach of an undertaking 6
Breach of conditional sentence order 2
Breach of probation 38
Breach of recognizance 32
Breach of the Aeronautics Act 1
Breach of the Bankruptcy Act 2
Breach of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act 2
Breach of the Canada Shipping Act 3
Breach of the Canada Wildlife Act 1
Breach of the Competition Act 2
Breach of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act 707
Breach of the Copyright Act 1
Breach of the Customs Act 10
Breach of the Employment Insurance Act 2
Breach of the Excise Act 17
Breach of the Fisheries Act 12
Breach of the Food and Drugs Act 72
Breach of the Government Property Traffic Act 3
Breach of the Government Property Traffic Regulations 3
Breach of the Immigration Act 9
Breach of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act 3
Breach of the Income Tax Act 3
Breach of the Juvenile Delinquents Act 2
Breach of the Narcotic Control Act 1274
Breach of the National Battlefields at Quebec Act 3
Breach of the National Defence Act Section: 20
Breach of the Radio communication Act 2
Breach of the Railway Act 1
Breach of the Railway Safety Act 2
Breach of the Tobacco Act 1
Breach of the Unemployment Insurance Act 10
Breach of the Weights and Measures Act 2
Breach of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection/Regulation of International Trade Act 1
Breach of the Young Offenders Act 43
Breach of the Youth Criminal Justice Act 3
Breach of trust 2
Breach of trust by public officer 2
Break and enter 30
Break and enter with intent 145
Break, enter and commit 234
Break, enter and commit an indictable offence 4
Break, enter and commit mischief 7
Break, enter and theft 421
Breaking out 1
Bribery of a peace officer 1
Bribery of agent 1
Care or control of a motor vehicle while ability impaired 109
Care or control of a motor vehicle with more than 80 mg of alcohol in blood 163
Careless storage of firearm, prohibited weapon, prohibited device or ammunition 4
Careless storage of firearms 10
Careless use of firearm 15
Careless use of prohibited weapon, prohibited device or ammunition 11
Carry a concealed weapon 27
Carrying and possession of a firearm 3
Cause a disturbance 122
Causing bodily harm with intent 7
Causing injury with intent 2
Causing unnecessary suffering to animals 3
Cheating at play 1
Common assault 36
Common nuisance 1
Communicate for the purpose of prostitution 64
Conspiracy 45
Conspiracy to commit a summary offence 1
Conspiracy to commit an indictable offence 50
Conspiracy to commit arson causing damage to property 2
Conspiracy to commit extortion 1
Conspiracy to commit fraud 13
Conspiracy to commit robbery 4
Conspiracy to commit theft 26
Conspiracy to import a narcotic 1
Conspiracy to possession of property obtained by crime 1
Conspiracy to produce a scheduled substance 1
Conspiracy to traffic in a controlled drug 1
Conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance 2
Conspiracy to traffic in a narcotic 8
Conspiracy to traffic in a restricted drug 1
Conspiracy to traffic in a scheduled substance 2
Conspire to commit murder 1
Contribution to juvenile delinquency 3
Control money related to gambling or betting machines 1
Counsel to commit an indecent act in public place 1
Counselling an indictable offence 1
Counterfeiting currency 1
Criminal breach of trust 1
Criminal harassment 77
Criminal interest rate 4
Criminal negligence causing bodily harm 3
Criminal negligence causing death 7
Criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle 3
Cruelty to animals 1
Damage to property 5
Dangerous driving without due attention 37
Dangerous operation of a vessel causing bodily harm 1
Dangerous operation of motor vehicle causing bodily harm 12
Dangerous operation of motor vehicle causing death 5
Dangerous operation of motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft 157
Dangerous use of firearm 6
Deal with a firearm or restricted weapon contrary to regulations 4
Deals with credit card obtained by crime 1
Delivery of firearm to person without firearms acquisition certificate 1
Delivery of restricted weapon to person without a permit 1
Disarming a Peace Officer 2
Disguise with intent 22
Disobey court order 3
Disturb the peace 4
Drive while impaired causing bodily harm 17
Drive while impaired causing death 3
Driving while ability impaired 1347
Driving while disqualified 224
Driving while licence suspension 5
Driving while prohibited 12
Driving with more than 80 mgs of alcohol in 100 ml of blood 3180
Driving with more than 80 mgs of alcohol in 100 ml of blood causing bodily harm 4
Engaging in prostitution 7
Escape lawful custody 52
Extortion 10
Fail to appear 286
Fail to attend court 164
Fail to comply with court order 18
Fail to comply with probation order 487
Fail to comply with recognizance 448
Fail to follow terms of lottery 1
Fail to provide breath sample 357
Fail to provide the necessities of life 1
Fail to report 1
Failure to comply with conditions of undertaking 172
Failure to stop at scene of accident 143
Failure to stop at the scene of an accident causing bodily harm 1
False alarm of fire 5
False messages 2
False pretences 82
False pretences over $1000 1
False pretences over $200 1
False pretences under $1000 8
False pretences under $5000 11
False statement 2
False statement in relation to passport 2
Falsification of books and documents 1
Flight while pursued by peace officer 19
Forcible confinement 23
Forcible entry 5
Forcible seizure 1
Forge a credit card 4
Forgery 42
Found in common bawdy-house 10
Fraud 138
Fraud over $1000 55
Fraud over $200 20
Fraud over $5000 40
Fraud under $1000 58
Fraud under $200 8
Fraud under $50 1
Fraud under $5000 125
Frauds upon the government 2
Fraudulent concealment 1
Fraudulent use of Certificate of Citizenship 3
Fraudulent use of credit card 14
Fraudulently burning personal or commercial property 4
Fraudulently obtain computer service 1
Fraudulently obtain transportation 6
Fraudulently obtaining food and lodging 21
Fraudulently obtains any computer service 1
Gross indecency 7
Handle firearm or restricted weapon contrary to regulations 1
Harassing phone calls 14
Have stolen goods 11
Immoral theatrical performance 1
Importing or delivering prohibited weapon 1
Indecent acts 22
Indecent assault on female 5
Indecent exposure 2
Indecent telephone calls 3
Inmate of a common bawdy-house 3
Intercept private communication 1
Intimidation 6
Keeping a common bawdy-house 17
Keeping a common betting house 1
Kidnapping 5
Killing other animals 1
Killing, injuring or endangering other animals 1
Living off the avails of prostitution 1
Loitering 1
Lotteries and games of chance 4
Mail obscene material 2
Make counterfeit money 1
Make false statement in writing 1
Manslaughter 3
Mischief 218
Mischief endangering life 3
Mischief over $1000 51
Mischief over $5000 32
Mischief to private property 48
Mischief to public property 4
Mischief under $1000 79
Mischief under $5000 200
Misleading peace officer 2
Obstruct justice 12
Obstruct peace officer 202
Obstruct public peace officer 4
Obstruction 88
Operate vessel, aircraft or railway equipment while ability impaired 2
Operate vessel, aircraft or railway equipment with more than 80mg of alcohol in blood 2
Overcoming resistance to commission of offence 1
Participate in a lottery scheme 1
Participate in a riot 1
Party to an illegal scheme 1
Passes off other wares or services with intent to deceive or defraud 2
Perjury 7
Personating peace officer 1
Personating 4
Personating with intent 67
Pointing a firearm 12
Possession and sale of telecommunication facility 2
Possession contrary to prohibition order 1
Possession of a prohibited weapon 41
Possession of a prohibited weapon in motor vehicle 2
Possession of a restricted weapon 10
Possession of a weapon 90
Possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace 2
Possession of ammunition while prohibited 2
Possession of an unregistered restricted firearm 2
Possession of an unregistered restricted weapon 9
Possession of automobile master key 1
Possession of counterfeit money 6
Possession of credit card obtained by crime 57
Possession of device to obtain telecommunication 2
Possession of explosives 1
Possession of firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized 2
Possession of firearm knowing that the serial number has been altered 1
Possession of firearm while prohibited 2
Possession of firearm, prohibited or restricted weapon obtained by crime 3
Possession of housebreaking instruments 50
Possession of incendiary device 1
Possession of instrument to be used to commit forgery 1
Possession of instruments for breaking into coin-operated devices 4
Possession of instruments for forging or falsifying credit card 3
Possession of obscene material for the purpose of distribution 3
Possession of prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition 5
Possession of prohibited or restricted weapon at unauthorized place 4
Possession of property obtained by crime 171
Possession of property obtained by crime over $1000 117
Possession of property obtained by crime over $200 47
Possession of property obtained by crime over $50 3
Possession of property obtained by crime over $5000 57
Possession of property obtained by crime under $1000 105
Possession of property obtained by crime under $200 41
Possession of property obtained by crime under $5000 126
Possession of safe-breaking instruments 1
Possession of spring knife 1
Prison breach 1
Proceeds of crime 1
Procuring 1
Prowl at night 2
Public mischief 130
Rape 1
Refuse to provide breath sample 62
Resist arrest 31
Resist peace officer 7
Restricted weapon 1
Restricted weapon in motor vehicle 3
Robbery 88
Robbery with violence 12
Setting fire to other substance 3
Sexual assault 71
Sexual assault causing bodily harm 1
Soliciting 1
Store firearm in a manner contrary to a regulation 16
Take motor vehicle without owner's consent 51
Taking part in a riot 2
Theft 172
Theft of auto 6
Theft of cattle 2
Theft of credit card 17
Theft of electricity or gas 1
Theft of mail 2
Theft of telecommunication service 2
Theft over $1000 152
Theft over $200 138
Theft over $50 14
Theft over $5000 55
Theft under $1000 827
Theft under $200 453
Theft under $50 31
Theft under $5000 793
Threatening phone calls 2
Traffic in a credit card 4
Transfer a prohibited weapon, ammunition or device without authority 2
Trespass at night 20
Unauthorized possession of a firearm 9
Unauthorized possession of a prohibited or restricted weapon 16
Unauthorized use of credit card data 7
Unlawful possession of explosives 1
Unlawful use of credit card 6
Unlawfully at large 39
Unlawfully causing bodily harm 7
Unlawfully in dwelling house 33
Unsafe storage of firearms 3
Use cancelled credit card 2
Use of credit card obtained by crime 39
Use of explosives with intent 1
Use of firearm 3
Use of firearm during the commission of an indictable offence 5
Use of imitation firearm during the commission of an indictable offence 1
Using mails to defraud 1
Utter death threats 4
Utter forged document 119
Uttering counterfeit money 7
Uttering threats 281
Uttering threats to cause bodily harm 10
Vagrancy 1
Voyeurism 1
Weapons trafficking 1
Wilful damage 26
Witness giving contradictory evidence 2
Wounding with intent 1

The numbers represent the offences for which a record suspension was ordered and not the total number of record suspensions ordered. One record suspended may have multiple offences.

4. The number of record suspensions ordered by the province of residence of the applicant

Province Ordered
Prince Edward Island 12
Nova Scotia 98
New Brunswick 66
Newfoundland and Labrador 101
Quebec 2,135
Ontario 4,594
Manitoba 133
Saskatchewan 103
Alberta 507
British Colombia 644
Yukon 1
Northwest Territories 10
Nunavut 2
Out of country 22

Other information required by the Minister

During this review period there were no requests for information required by the Minister pursuant to CRA sec 11(1) (d).

Moving forward with the program

The $631 user fee established by the PBC in 2012 reflects the PBC's full cost of operating the record suspension program, from the point of receipt of an application through to processing for decision. It includes a fee paid to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) checks, and Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) costs for information technology support.

In several Ministerial Mandate Letters, the Government has committed to reviewing legislative amendments made over the past decade to ensure they increase public safety, provide value for money, address gaps, and align with the objectives of the criminal justice system.

As such, it is anticipated that PBC will be involved in collaborating with its partners in undertaking a review of the CRA.

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