Got a question about your application?
The following are the most frequently asked questions by applicants.
Who is responsible for cannabis record suspensions?
The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is the official and only federal agency responsible for making record suspension decisions under the Criminal Records Act (CRA).
Is there a fee to apply for a cannabis record suspension?
No, there is no fee to apply. Applicants are responsible for any additional fees required as part of their application, such as fingerprints, criminal record, court documents and police checks.
What convictions are eligible for a cannabis record suspension?
Convictions for simple possession of cannabis are the only eligible convictions. Simple possession is a charge for possession of a controlled substance, in this case cannabis, for personal use (i.e., with no intent to traffic).
Who can apply for a cannabis record suspension?
You can apply for a cannabis record suspension if you were convicted in Canada as an adult of simple possession of cannabis only.
You can apply even if you are not a Canadian citizen or a resident of Canada so long as you have a record of conviction for simple possession of cannabis in Canada.
You can apply if you have unpaid fines or victim surcharges related to the cannabis conviction(s), but you must have completed the other parts of your sentence (e.g., probation order).
Is there a waiting period before I can apply for a cannabis record suspension?
No, there is no waiting period, but you must have completed your sentence (e.g., probation order) excluding the payment of fines or victim surcharges.
Are any offences not eligible?
Individuals with convictions other than simple possession of cannabis are not eligible for the streamlined cannabis record suspension process. However, these individuals may be eligible to apply for a regular record suspension provided they meet the criteria outlined in the Criminal Records Act (e.g., they have completed their sentence, wait times and meet the eligibility criteria). In these instances, a simple possession of cannabis conviction is not considered in the calculation of the wait time or in a Board member’s assessment of the application. You can still apply if you have unpaid fines or victim surcharges related to the cannabis conviction(s), but you must have completed the other parts of your sentence (e.g., probation order). Consult the regular PBC Record Suspension Application Guide for more information.
Do I need to provide court documents?
If your criminal record or local police records check(s) clearly show you were convicted only of simple possession of cannabis, and your only sentence was a fine or victim surcharge or both, you do not need to obtain your court information.
When can I apply?
If you were convicted of simple possession of cannabis only you may apply for your record suspension as soon as your sentence is complete. You can still apply if you have unpaid fines or victim surcharges.
Do I need a lawyer or a representative to apply for a cannabis record suspension?
No. The PBC Cannabis Record Suspension Application Guide includes step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a cannabis record suspension and all the forms that you need. Just follow the steps and mail your application form and official documents. An application from a lawyer or a representative does not receive preferential treatment. You can also call the PBC’s toll-free line (1-800-874-2652) for assistance.
What is the effect of a cannabis record suspension?
After a record suspension is ordered, a criminal record check will not show that you had a criminal record or a record suspension. A record suspension keeps a judicial record of a conviction separate and apart from other criminal records in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. 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.
If you are convicted of a new offence, that information may lead to a reactivation of the file in CPIC.
Will a cannabis record suspension erase my conviction?
Once a record suspension is ordered, your criminal record will be kept separate and apart from other criminal records and will not show up in a criminal records check. Your criminal record will not, however, be erased.
Will a cannabis record suspension erase my prohibition order?
No. A record suspension has no effect on a prohibition order.
Can a record suspension be revoked?
If an individual receives a record suspension for convictions of simple possession of cannabis only, the record suspension may be revoked in the case of a new conviction or if the person was found to have misled the PBC at the time of application.
All other record suspensions can be revoked if the individual is convicted of a new indictable offence, or in some cases, a summary offence. It can also be revoked if an individual is found to no longer be of good conduct or to have made a false or misleading statement, or hidden information when they applied.
If a record suspension is revoked, the record of the offence(s) is added back into the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database.
Do I need a cannabis record suspension if I was a young offender?
You may need to apply for a cannabis record suspension if you were found guilty as a young person and before the specific period of time defined in youth legislation you were convicted as an adult. The cannabis record suspension may cover both the youth and adult records.
You do not need to apply for a cannabis record suspension if you were found guilty only in a youth court or youth justice court, since your record will be destroyed or archived once all applicable time periods have elapsed under the Young Offenders Act or the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Do I need a cannabis record suspension if I received an absolute or conditional discharge?
If you have only received absolute or conditional discharges, you do not need to apply for a cannabis record suspension. If you received an absolute discharge on or after July 24, 1992, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) will automatically remove it from its system one year after the court decision. If you received a conditional discharge on or after July 24, 1992, the RCMP will automatically remove it 3 years after the court decision. If you received an absolute or conditional discharge before July 24, 1992, contact the RCMP to have the information removed (RCMP Record Suspension & Purge Services, P.O. Box 8885, Ottawa, ON K1G 3M8).
Will a cannabis record suspension guarantee me entry into a foreign country?
No. A record suspension does not guarantee you entry or visa privileges to another country. Before you go, contact the authorities of any country you wish to visit to find out what you need to do to enter that country. U.S. and other non-Canadian citizens are not eligible for a record suspension unless they were convicted of a crime in Canada.
Do I need a cannabis record suspension to apply for a passport?
No. Passport Canada reviews each application on its own merit. You should contact Passport Canada directly to find out more about the specific requirements for getting a passport.
Do I have to pay my outstanding fines or victim surcharges?
You do not need to pay any outstanding fines or victim surcharges to be able to apply for a cannabis record suspension if the fines/victim surcharges are part of your sentence for convictions of simple possession of cannabis. Records may be disclosed for enforcement of fine/victim surcharge payment.
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