Record Suspension Program 2016-2017 Report to Parliament

Table of Contents

Introduction
Background
Findings for 2016-17

Record Suspension Decisions

Introduction

Pursuant to section 11 of the Criminal Records Act, 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);

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

  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, many provincial and municipal criminal justice agencies also restrict access to their records once they are informed 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 CRA.

A record suspension can be revoked or cease to have effect. The process for revocation is initiated 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 it discovers that an 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. 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. Applications in which the Board is proposing to refuse to order a record suspension may require up to 24 months after application acceptance to complete. The reason for this is that under the CRA, the Board must notify the applicant in writing of its proposal to refuse, and advise them that they are entitled to make or have made on their behalf any representations to the Board that they believe relevant.

Findings for 2016-17

Number of applications

In 2016-2017, the Board received 11,563 record suspension applications and accepted 8,191 applications (71%) for processing. There were 3,372 record suspension applications (29%) 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 12,384 record suspension applications and accepted 8,917 applications (or 72%).

The table below indicates the number of record suspension applications received in each fiscal year over the last five years. (See chart below)

Incoming application totals: 19,526 in 2012/2013, 14,253 in 2013/2014, 12,416 in 2014/2015, 12,384 in 2015/2016, and 11,563 in 2016/2017.

The number of record suspension applications received over the last five years has decreased each year. 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

In 2016/17, the average processing time of an accepted record suspension application was 153 days for summary files and 259 days for indictable files where the final decision was to order a record suspension, and 273 days for those where the final decision was to refuse to order a record suspension. This is well below the 6-month service standard for summary files and the 12-month service standard for indictable files.

Service standards were fully met for 99.95% 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 (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(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 2016-17.

Indictable offences* Summary offences**
3,361 4,830

*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) (2016-17)

Ordered (4(1) (a))   Ordered (4(1) (b))   Refused to Order (4(1) (a)) Refused to order (4(1) (b))
3,730 4,610 251 188

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

Offence Ordered
   
Abandoning child 3
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 7
Accessory after the fact to murder 1
Accessory after the fact to the commission of an offence 1
Acquire firearm without firearms acquisition certificate 3
Administer noxious thing 1
Aggravated assault 41
Aiding and abetting any person in committing an offence 1
All breaches of the National Defence Act 60
Allow machine or device to be kept for gambling or betting 1
Armed robbery 27
Arson 8
Arson causing damage to property 7
Assault 1413
Assault against peace-public officer 50
Assault causing bodily harm 293
Assault peace officer 106
Assault with a weapon 244
Assault with intent to resist arrest 47
Assault with intent to steal 2
Attempt break and enter with intent 50
Attempt fraud 21
Attempt fraud over $5000 8
Attempt fraud under $5000 26
Attempt robbery 8
Attempt sexual intercourse with female under 14 years 1
Attempt theft 101
Attempt to bribe peace officer 1
Attempt to commit a summary offence 4
Attempt to commit an indictable offence 12
Attempt to obstruct justice 29
Attempt to procure 1
Attempt to suffocate 1
Attempted murder 2
Bookmaking 2
Breach of an undertaking 8
Breach of conditional sentence order 3
Breach of probation 56
Breach of recognizance 23
Breach of terms and conditions of lottery license 1
Breach of the Animal Pedigree Act 2
Breach of the Atlantic Fishery Regulations 1
Breach of the Bankruptcy Act 2
Breach of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act 2
Breach of the Canada Elections Act 1
Breach of the Canada Shipping Act 5
Breach of the Canada Wildlife Act 1
Breach of the Citizenship Act 2
Breach of the Competition Act 2
Breach of the Consumer Packaging & Labelling Act 1
Breach of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act 939
Breach of the Copyright Act 4
Breach of the Customs Act 17
Breach of the Employment Insurance Act 6
Breach of the Excise Act 25
Breach of the Fisheries Act 16
Breach of the Food and Drugs Act 64
Breach of the Government Property Traffic Act 2
Breach of the Government Property Traffic Regulations 4
Breach of the Immigration Act 11
Breach of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act 8
Breach of the Income Tax Act 3
Breach of the Indian Act 2
Breach of the Juvenile Delinquents Act 2
Breach of the Liquor Act 1
Breach of the Migratory Birds Convention Act 1
Breach of the Narcotic Control Act 1191
Breach of the National Battlefields at Quebec Act 2
Breach of the National Capital Act 3
Breach of the National Defence Act 19
Breach of the Small Vessel Regulations 1
Breach of the Unemployment Insurance Act 7
Breach of the Weights and Measures Act 1
Breach of the Young Offenders Act 99
Breach of the Youth Criminal Justice Act 17
Breach of trust by public officer 2
Break and enter 26
Break and enter with intent 157
Break, enter and commit 255
Break, enter and commit an indictable offence 12
Break, enter and commit mischief 4
Break, enter and theft 488
Breaking out 4
Breaking out after committing an indictable offence 1
Bribery of government officials 1
Bringing into Canada property obtained by crime 1
Care or control of a motor vehicle while ability impaired 106
Care or control of a motor vehicle with more than 80 mg of alcohol in blood 135
Careless storage of firearm, prohibited weapon, prohibited device or ammunition 14
Careless storage of firearms 10
Careless use of firearm 22
Careless use of prohibited weapon, prohibited device or ammunition 12
Carry a concealed weapon 45
Cause a disturbance 158
Cause an explosion that is likely to cause serious bodily harm, death or damage to property 1
Causing bodily harm with intent 5
Causing unnecessary suffering to animals 1
Cheating at play 2
Common assault 35
Common nuisance 1
Communicate for the purpose of prostitution 55
Conspiracy 53
Conspiracy to commit a summary offence 1
Conspiracy to commit an indictable offence 52
Conspiracy to commit extortion 1
Conspiracy to commit fraud 6
Conspiracy to commit robbery 14
Conspiracy to commit theft 28
Conspiracy to import a narcotic 5
Conspiracy to possession of property obtained by crime 1
Conspiracy to produce a scheduled substance  1
Conspiracy to traffic in a controlled drug 2
Conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance 6
Conspiracy to traffic in a narcotic 14
Conspiracy to traffic in a scheduled substance 2
Conspire to commit murder 2
Contribution to juvenile delinquency 1
Counsel to commit murder 1
Counselling an indictable offence 2
Counterfeiting currency 2
Counterfeiting stamps 2
Criminal breach of trust 1
Criminal harassment 104
Criminal interest rate 1
Criminal negligence causing bodily harm 4
Criminal negligence causing death 4
Criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle 1
Damage to property 5
Damage under $50 2
Dangerous driving without due attention 24
Dangerous operation of a vessel causing bodily harm 3
Dangerous operation of motor vehicle causing bodily harm 12
Dangerous operation of motor vehicle causing death 6
Dangerous operation of motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft 225
Dangerous use of firearm 1
Deal with a firearm or restricted weapon contrary to regulations 3
Delivery of firearm to person without firearms acquisition certificate 1
Disguise with intent 28
Disobey court order 5
Disposal of property to defraud creditors 2
Disturb the peace 1
Drawing document without authority 1
Drive while impaired causing bodily harm 21
Drive while impaired causing death 6
Driving while ability impaired 1402
Driving while disqualified 253
Driving while licence suspension 10
Driving while prohibited 12
Driving with more than 80 mgs of alcohol in 100 ml of blood 2979
Driving with more than 80 mgs of alcohol in 100 ml of blood causing bodily harm 3
Endorse document without authority 1
Engaging in prostitution 11
Escape lawful custody 45
Extortion 10
Fabricating Evidence 1
Fail to appear 364
Fail to attend court 211
Fail to comply with court order 22
Fail to comply with probation order 649
Fail to comply with recognizance 642
Fail to provide breath sample 326
Fail to report 2
Fail to report a found weapon 1
Failure to comply with conditions of undertaking 249
Failure to stop at scene of accident 147
Failure to stop at the scene of an accident causing bodily harm 4
False alarm of fire 5
False messages 1
False pretences 83
False pretences over $1000 7
False pretences over $200 3
False pretences under $1000 13
False pretences under $5000 6
False statement 1
False statement to procure firearms acquisition certificate 1
Flight while pursued by peace officer 26
Forcible confinement 27
Forcible entry 13
Forcible seizure 1
Forge a credit card 2
Forgery 48
Found in common bawdy-house 3
Fraud 132
Fraud over $1000 54
Fraud over $200 33
Fraud over $5000 44
Fraud under $1000 53
Fraud under $200 9
Fraud under $5000 153
Fraudulent use of credit card 22
Fraudulent use of slugs 1
Fraudulently obtain transportation 12
Fraudulently obtaining food and lodging 15
Gross indecency 4
Handle firearm or restricted weapon contrary to regulations 4
Harassing phone calls 27
Has under his control any device for gambling or betting 1
Have stolen goods 3
Indecent acts 26
Indecent assault on female 7
Indecent assault on male 1
Indecent exposure 2
Indecent telephone calls 8
Inmate of a common bawdy-house 2
Intimidation 8
Keeping a common bawdy-house 20
Keeping a common gaming house 9
Kidnapping 2
Killing, injuring or endangering cattle 1
Killing, injuring or endangering other animals 1
Living off the avails of prostitution 2
Loitering 2
Lotteries and games of chance 1
Make counterfeit money 1
Make false statement in writing 1
Manslaughter 10
Mischief 235
Mischief endangering life 2
Mischief over $1000 41
Mischief over $5000 42
Mischief to data 1
Mischief to private property 55
Mischief to public property 12
Mischief under $1000 74
Mischief under $5000 230
Misleading peace officer 2
Neglect to obtain assistance in childbirth 1
Nudity 1
Obstruct justice 5
Obstruct peace officer 232
Obstruct public peace officer 4
Obstruction 74
Obtain credit card by fraud 1
Operate vessel, aircraft or railway equipment while ability impaired 3
Operate vessel, aircraft or railway equipment with more than 80mg of alcohol in blood 4
Participate in a lottery scheme 1
Participate in a pyramid scheme 1
Participation in criminal organization 2
Party to an illegal scheme 1
Party to an offence 1
Passes off other wares or services with intent to deceive or defraud 3
Perjury 8
Permitting use of place as gaming or betting house 1
Personating peace officer 5
Personation 7
Personation at examination 1
Personation  with intent 93
Pointing a firearm 20
Possession and sale of telecommunication facility 3
Possession of a prohibited weapon 42
Possession of a prohibited weapon in motor vehicle 3
Possession of a restricted weapon 8
Possession of a sawed-off rifle 1
Possession of a weapon 127
Possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace 4
Possession of an imitation weapon 1
Possession of an offensive weapon 1
Possession of an unregistered restricted firearm 5
Possession of an unregistered restricted weapon 20
Possession of counterfeit money 14
Possession of credit card obtained by crime 79
Possession of device to obtain telecommunication 1
Possession of explosives 3
Possession of firearm dangerous to the safety of other persons 1
Possession of firearm elsewhere then in dwelling house without a permit 1
Possession of firearm knowing that the serial number has been altered 2
Possession of firearm while prohibited 11
Possession of firearm, prohibited or restricted weapon obtained by crime 2
Possession of housebreaking instruments 102
Possession of instrument to be used to commit forgery 3
Possession of instruments for breaking into coin-operated devices 4
Possession of instruments for counterfeiting 1
Possession of instruments for forging or falsifying credit card 6
Possession of precious metals 1
Possession of prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition 11
Possession of prohibited or restricted weapon at unauthorized place 7
Possession of property obtained by crime 245
Possession of property obtained by crime over $1000 111
Possession of property obtained by crime over $200 62
Possession of property obtained by crime over $5000 75
Possession of property obtained by crime under $1000 100
Possession of property obtained by crime under $200 51
Possession of property obtained by crime under $5000 174
Possession of safe-breaking instruments 1
Possession of spring knife 1
Proceeds of crime 1
Procures or attempts to procure a person to become a prostitute 1
Procuring 2
Prowl at night 3
Public mischief 158
Publish defamatory libel 2
Rape 1
Refuse roadside testing device 2
Refuse to provide breath sample 93
Register Bets 1
Resist arrest 34
Resist peace officer 9
Restricted weapon in motor vehicle 1
Retaining stolen goods 1
Robbery 132
Robbery with violence 9
Secret commission 1
Selling restricted weapon without permit 1
Setting fire by negligence 2
Setting fire to other substance 3
Sexual assault 68
Sexual assault with a firearm 1
Sexual assault with a weapon 4
Sexual interference 1
Shoplifting 1
Skipping bail 1
Soliciting 2
Store firearm in a manner contrary to a regulation 10
Take motor vehicle without owner's consent 63
Taking part in a riot 1
Theft 161
Theft by conversion 2
Theft by person required to account 1
Theft of auto 12
Theft of credit card 15
Theft of mail 4
Theft of telecommunication service 8
Theft over $1000 146
Theft over $200 150
Theft over $50 18
Theft over $5000 90
Theft under $1000 766
Theft under $200 436
Theft under $50 23
Theft under $5000 953
Threatening letter 1
Threatening phone calls 5
Traffic in a credit card 1
Transfer property with intent to defraud creditors 1
Transmit property with intent to defraud creditors 1
Transmit betting by phone 1
Trespass at night 19
Unauthorized possession of a firearm 10
Unauthorized possession of a prohibited device or ammunition 1
Unauthorized possession of a prohibited or restricted weapon 21
Unauthorized use of computer 1
Unauthorized use of credit card data 14
Unlawful assembly 2
Unlawful possession of explosives 3
Unlawful use of credit card 4
Unlawfully at large 51
Unlawfully causing bodily harm 9
Unlawfully in dwelling house 24
Unsafe storage of firearms 1
Use cancelled credit card 1
Use of credit card obtained by crime 59
Use of explosives with intent 1
Use of firearm 7
Use of firearm during the commission of an indictable offence 6
Use of imitation firearm 2
Use of imitation firearm during the commission of an indictable offence 2
Utter death threats 4
Utter forged document 136
Utter forged passport 1
Uttering 6
Uttering counterfeit money 15
Uttering threats 381
Uttering, using or exporting counterfeit money 8
Voyeurism 2
Wilful damage 17
Wounding with intent 4

 

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

Province Ordered
Prince Edward Island 15
Nova Scotia 112
New Brunswick 55
Newfoundland and Labrador 105
Quebec 1,835
Ontario 4,753
Manitoba 141
Saskatchewan 111
Alberta 588
British Colombia 589
Yukon 3
Northwest Territories 8
Nunavut 1
Out of country 24


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).

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