Frequently Asked Questions about Expungement

Important: Additional eligible offences have been added to the Schedule to the Expungement Act. Find out more.

The following are frequently asked questions about expungement and the application process.


  • Who is eligible to apply for expungement?

    Persons convicted of an offence listed in the Schedule to the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act (Expungement Act) may be eligible to submit an application to the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) to have the judicial record of their conviction expunged.

    If the individual is deceased, an appropriate representative such as a family member, common law partner, or trustee, can apply on their behalf.

    See Step 1 of the Expungement Application Guide or our page What Convictions Qualify for Expungement? for a list of eligible offences.

  • What are the criteria for eligibility?

    Applicants must provide evidence that the conviction(s) meet(s) certain criteria.

    See our page What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Expungement? for more information.

  • What is the cost for submitting an application to have a conviction expunged?

    There is no processing fee for submitting an application.

  • Are there other associated costs (obtaining records, etc.)?

    Applicants may have to pay costs to retrieve the documentation needed for their application. This could include, but is not limited to, the fee for requesting court and/or police documents, and fees associated with obtaining sworn statements/solemn declarations.

  • Who can apply for a posthumous expungement on behalf of a person?

    A number of categories of applicants are specifically identified in the legislation, including the person’s child, parent, sibling or legal representative (mandatary, trustee, tutor, curator, etc.). See the complete list under subsection 7(2) of the Act for more information. Evidence of the person’s death and the applicant’s relationship with this person will be required with the application.

  • Why is expungement available posthumously?

    Given that most of the convictions eligible for expungement are a number of decades old, many of those individuals eligible to apply for an expungement order may be deceased.

    Expungement offers recognition that the eligible conviction was unjust and inconsistent with the rights now protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. For this reason, eligible representatives can apply for this recognition on behalf of a deceased person, should they choose to do so.

  • What could make a person ineligible to apply for an expungement?

    If the offence committed by the potential applicant is not listed in the Schedule of historical injustices eligible for expungement, or if the applicant is not an appropriate representative of a deceased individual, they will not be eligible to apply.

  • What happens if an individual has already received an absolute or conditional discharge for the offence under the Criminal Code?

    The Criminal Records Act requires that records of discharge be removed from a criminal record within prescribed periods (e.g., if more than one year has elapsed since the offender was discharged absolutely or if more than three years have elapsed since the offender was discharged on the conditions prescribed in a probation order). If an absolute or conditional discharge was received before July 24, 1992, please contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to have the information removed (RCMP Pardon & Purge Services).

  • Will all records of the conviction be destroyed?

    Individuals ordered an expungement will have judicial records of their expunged conviction destroyed or removed from the repositories of the RCMP and any other federal department or agency. The individual would be able to state that they were never convicted of the offence in question.

    Applicable Canadian police forces and courts falling under provincial/territorial or municipal jurisdiction retain their own records and will be advised of the expungement and it is anticipated that they would comply. However, they are not bound by federal legislation.

  • What about other convictions the person might have? Will these convictions also be expunged?

    Only offences listed in the Schedule to the Expungement Act are eligible for expungement.

    Other offences may be eligible for a record suspension or pardon. Consult the Record Suspension section of our website for more information.

  • What if I cannot recall the details of my conviction(s), such as the arresting police service or court of conviction?

    If you cannot recall the details of your conviction(s), you may wish to request a copy of your criminal record from the National Repository of Criminal Records maintained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Should you have a criminal record within this repository, it may assist you in your search for records.

  • Will members of the military convicted under the National Defence Act be eligible to have their record expunged?

    Yes. The Government recognizes that military service members were also convicted of the offences listed in the Schedule to the Expungement Act, and that these offences were sometimes prosecuted under the National Defence Act. The schedule of eligible offences applies, whether they were prosecuted under the Criminal Code or the National Defence Act.

  • What is a 'close-in-age' defence as it relates to convictions for gross indecency, buggery and anal intercourse?

    A 'close-in-age' exemption prevents the prosecution of underage couples who engage in consensual sexual activities when both participants are significantly close in age to each other and one or both are below the age of consent.

  • How does the applicant prove that the activity was consensual, between the same sex and that the other person involved was at least 16 years of age or subject to a 'close-in-age' defence under section 150.1 of the Criminal Code?

    This information is usually found in court records or transcripts and police reports. Copies of official documentation must be provided with the application for an expungement order. If these cannot be obtained from the courts or police because of retention periods or other factors, or if these are available but do not provide evidence that the criteria are met, the applicant must submit a sworn statement or solemn declaration.

  • What is a bawdy house?

    According to the Criminal Code, a common bawdy house is a place that is kept by one or more persons for the practice of acts of indecency.

  • Can individuals arrested during bathhouse raids apply for expungement?

    Yes, individuals arrested during bathhouse raids may be eligible to apply for expungement if they were convicted of offences listed in the Schedule to the Expungement Act.

  • Why do the actual regulations refer to “miscarriage” and not abortion?

    This is because the word “miscarriage” is what appears in the Criminal Code. However, the term “abortion” is more widely used and understood among the Canadian public, and so PBC is using the term “abortion” on its website and in the Expungement Application Guide for clarity and simplicity.

  • How will I know if my particular offence is eligible for expungement?

    For a complete list of offences, please consult the Schedule to the Expungement Act.

  • How will the eligibility criteria be verified?

    The onus is on the applicant to provide evidence that the eligibility criteria are met, and the PBC will do its due diligence to make necessary inquiries and to review all available information. Given the historical nature of the offences, if court or police records are not available, sworn statements/solemn declarations may be accepted as evidence.

  • Why are sworn statements/solemn declarations accepted?

    Applicants must attempt to obtain copies of court and/or police documents for each eligible conviction(s) for which they are applying, however given the historical nature of many of the convictions, it may not always be possible to obtain documentation or the documentation may be available but does not provide evidence that the criteria are met. In these cases, accepting sworn statements/solemn declarations helps ensure that historically unjust convictions can still be recognized and expunged.

    In instances where a representative is applying on behalf of a deceased person, they may also need to provide a sworn statement/solemn declaration for the reasons noted above.

    Examples of what information to include in a sworn statement/solemn declaration can be found in the Expungement Application Guide.

  • What is the difference between a sworn statement and a solemn declaration?

    A sworn statement is an assessment of facts that are stated under oath – in an affidavit, for example. A solemn declaration is in lieu of an affidavit by a person conscientiously unable to take an oath. A person who makes a solemn declaration before an officer or person qualified to take affidavits has the same force and effect as if that person had taken an oath.

  • How will the Parole Board of Canada verify the authenticity of the sworn statement/solemn declaration, and that the applicant has made reasonable efforts to obtain the documents from the courts and police services?

    The PBC may conduct an inquiry with courts and police services to verify information submitted by an applicant.

  • What documents can I provide to support my relationship with a deceased person if I am submitting an application on their behalf?

    Documentation acceptable to show proof of relationship could include a:

    • Canadian long-form birth certificate
    • Baptismal certificate with parent’s name
    • Official document that names the applicant as a parent
    • Adoption certificate
    • Land transfer certificate
    • Excerpt of relevant passages of a Will
    • Property certificate
    • Protection mandate
    • Power of attorney (or letter of attorney)
    • Letter of guardianship
    • Certificate of appointment of estate trustee
    • Court judgement designating a tutor or curator
    • Death certificate
    • Newspaper obituary
    • Funeral notice
    • Official Notification from the Public Trustee for a Province
    • Registration of Death; or
    • A notarial copy of Letters of Probate.

    If you are unsure whether your documentation is acceptable, please contact PBC through our toll-free line at 1-800-874-2652 or email at

  • What documents can I provide to confirm death, if I am submitting an application on behalf of a deceased person?

    Documentation acceptable to confirm death could include a:

    • Burial or Death Certificate
    • Certification of Death from another country
    • Life or Group Insurance Claim along with a statement signed by a medical doctor
    • Medical Certification of Death
    • Memorandum of Notification of Death issued by the Chief of National Defence Staff
    • Notarial copy of Letters of Probate
    • Official Notification from the Public Trustee for a Province
    • Registration of Death
    • Statement of a medical doctor, coroner or funeral director
    • Statement of Verification of Death from the Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Newspaper obituary, or
    • A funeral notice.

    If you are unsure whether your documentation is acceptable, please contact PBC through our toll-free line at 1-800-874-2652 or email at

  • What documents can I provide to confirm one-year cohabitation (living together) for a spouse or common-law partner if I am submitting an application on behalf of a deceased person?

    Documentation acceptable to show proof of one-year cohabitation with the deceased person prior to death could include a:

    • Document showing a shared ownership of a residential property
    • Joint lease(s) or rental agreement(s) (in the name of the deceased person and the applicant)
    • Marriage certificate
    • Shared loan document (showing place of residence of deceased person and the applicant)
    • Bills for shared utility account, such as: gas, electricity, telephone, joint utility account
    • Letters (showing that the deceased person was living with the applicant at the same address within the 12 months prior to death)
    • Excerpt of relevant passages of a Will; or
    • Important documents for both of you showing the same address, such as driver's licences or insurance policies

    If you are unsure whether your documentation is acceptable, please contact PBC through our toll-free line at 1-800-874-2652 or email at

  • Who is responsible for ordering an expungement and expunging the records?

    The PBC reviews applications and orders or refuses to order expungement.

    If an expungement is ordered, the PBC will notify the RCMP, who will destroy or remove any record of the conviction in its custody. The PBC will notify any federal departments, including the Department of National Defence, or any agency that, to its knowledge, has records of the conviction and direct them to do the same.

    Relevant courts and municipal, provincial and territorial police forces will also be notified of the expungement order.

  • What records are destroyed when an expungement is ordered?

    When an expungement is ordered, the PBC will notify the RCMP, any federal departments and/or agencies and any court that, to its knowledge, has custody of any judicial record of the conviction to which the expungement order relates. Municipal, provincial and territorial police forces will also be notified based on the above-mentioned criteria.

    The Expungement Act requires that the judicial records of the conviction be destroyed or permanently removed from any federal department or agency’s databases. While relevant provincial/territorial courts and municipal, provincial and territorial police forces are not bound by the legislation, they may choose to destroy records of conviction in the spirit of the Act.

    Judicial records of the conviction to be destroyed are documents that indicate that an individual was convicted of the expungable offence. Other records that may be linked to the investigation, arrest or prosecution of the individual but do not speak to a conviction, such as police records, witness statements, or court transcripts, may need to be retained in accordance with federal, provincial or territorial retention requirements.

  • How long will it take to process an expungement application?

    The PBC will undertake to process expungement applications promptly. Applicants should also bear in mind that if their application is incomplete, or if additional research must be undertaken by PBC, this could impact time for processing.

  • Do I need to apply through a lawyer or a third party service company?

    No. You can apply directly to the PBC for an expungement.

    For step-by-step instructions on applying for expungement, consult the PBC Expungement Application Guide.

    If you need assistance, contact the PBC's 1-800 Information Line at 1-800-874-2652 (toll free) or email us at

    Using third party companies will not give your application a special status, get it processed faster, or guarantee you an expungement.

  • Will an expungement allow me to travel to other countries?

    Expungement does not guarantee a person entry or visa privileges to another country.

    Entry and exit requirements are at the discretion of each country. International jurisdictions are not bound by Canadian law.

    Before travelling, contact the authorities of the country you wish to visit to find out what you need to do to enter that country.

  • What is the difference between expungement and a record suspension/pardon?

    The purpose of a record suspension/pardon is to remove barriers to reintegration that can be associated with a criminal record. If a record suspension/pardon is awarded, the entire criminal record is to be kept separate and apart from other criminal records. The criminal record can only be disclosed under very specific circumstances by the Minister of Public Safety. If an individual is found to have committed a new offence, be no longer of good conduct, or found to have been ineligible at the time the record suspension was ordered, a record suspension can be ceased or revoked. If a record suspension is revoked or ceases to have effect, the record of the offence(s) are added back in to the Canadian Police Information Centre database. Record suspensions/pardons cannot be ordered posthumously.

    With expungement, the Government recognizes that those whose record of conviction constitutes a historical injustice should not be viewed as "former offenders". Their conviction was for an act that should never have been a crime and had the conviction occurred today, it would likely be inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If an application for expungement is approved, federal records of that conviction will be destroyed or removed. Unlike a record suspension/pardon, expungement is also available to those both living and deceased.

    If you obtained a record suspension/pardon in the past for convictions that could now be eligible for expungement, please contact the PBC for further instructions.

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