What is Expungement?
Important: Additional eligible offences have been added to the Schedule to the Expungement Act. Find out more
To expunge something is to permanently destroy it or remove it.
Under the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act (Expungement Act), the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is the official and only federal agency responsible for ordering or refusing to order expungement of a conviction.
This legislation allows for the destruction or permanent removal of judicial records of historically unjust convictions that would be lawful today from federal databases.
Certain convictions under the Criminal Code as well as certain convictions under the National Defence Act are eligible for expungement.
Persons convicted of offence(s) listed in the Schedule to the Expungement Act are eligible to submit an application to the PBC to have the record(s) of their conviction(s) expunged. If the person is deceased, an appropriate representative, such as a family member or a trustee, can apply on their behalf.
When an expungement is ordered, the person convicted of the offence is deemed to never have been convicted of that offence.
There is no fee to apply for an expungement order. Applicants should, however, be aware that costs may be incurred in terms of providing the documentation needed for the application.
Given that most eligible offences are expected to be historical in nature, a sworn statement or solemn declaration may be accepted as evidence if applicants can demonstrate that court or police records are not available, or if the documentation does not allow PBC to determine if the criteria are satisfied.
If an expungement is ordered, after receipt of the notification from PBC, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will destroy or remove any record of conviction in its custody. The PBC will notify any federal department or 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.
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