Applying for a record suspension
Information for B.C. and Ontario residents applying for a record suspension.
New information for record suspension applicants regarding victim surcharges
A recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling struck down the mandatory victim surcharge imposed on offenders as part of their sentencing, under section 737 of the Criminal Code.
Before this ruling, applicants had to prove that they had paid all fines in full before being eligible to apply for a record suspension/pardon. Going forward, outstanding victim surcharges imposed on or after October 24, 2013 (under Section 737 of the Criminal Code) will no longer be considered when reviewing eligibility for a record suspension/pardon application. All other fines and surcharges must still be paid in full.
If your application was returned to you because of an outstanding victim surcharge, you are encouraged to re-submit your application.
Before you get started, read the following questions and answers to make sure you qualify for or need to apply for a record suspension, and to find out what a record suspension will and will not do for you.
WHO is responsible for 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). Under the CRA, the PBC can order, refuse to order and revoke a record suspension.
ARE any offences ineligible?
Yes. You are not eligible for a record suspension if you have been convicted of:
- a Schedule 1 Offence (offence involving a child) under the Criminal Records Act
- more than three (3) offences prosecuted by indictment, each with a prison sentence of two (2) years or more.
WHO can apply?
When can you apply?
Before you apply for a record suspension, you must have completed all of your sentences, which includes:
- all fines, surcharges, costs, restitution and compensation orders;
- all sentences of imprisonment, conditional sentences, including parole and statutory release;
- any probation order(s).
Note: If you have a prohibition order, it does not need to have expired before the waiting period begins.
After completing all of your sentences, you must have completed a waiting period:
- 5 years for a summary offence (or a service offence under the National Defence Act).
- 10 years for an indictable offence (or a service offence under the National Defence Act for which you were fined more than $5,000, detained or imprisoned for more than 6 months).
Do I need a lawyer or a representative to apply for a record suspension?
No. This application guide includes step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a record suspension and all the forms that you need. You can also call 1-800-874-2652 for assistance. Just follow the steps and mail your application form, $631.00 (CDN) application fee (Certified cheque, bank draft or money order, payable to the Receiver General for Canada), and official documents. An application from a lawyer or a representative does not receive preferential treatment.
What is the effect of a record suspension?
A record suspension keeps a judicial record of a conviction separate and apart from other criminal records, and gives law abiding citizens an opportunity to reintegrate into society.
It removes all information about the conviction from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. Federal agencies cannot give out information about the conviction without approval from the Minister of Public Safety Canada. 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, the information may lead to a reactivation of the file in CPIC.
Will a record suspension erase my conviction?
No. A record suspension does not erase the fact that you were convicted of a crime. Your criminal record is not erased, but it is kept separate and apart from other criminal records.
Will a record suspension erase my prohibition order?
No. A record suspension has no effect on a prohibition order.
Do I need a record suspension if I was a young offender?
You may need to apply for a 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 record suspension may cover both the youth and adult records. You do not need to apply for a 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 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 record suspension. If you received an absolute discharge on or after , the Royal Canadian Mountain Police (RCMP) will automatically remove it from its system one year after the court decision. If you received a conditional discharge on or after , the RCMP will automatically remove it 3 years after the court decision. If you received an absolute or conditional discharge before , contact the RCMP to have the information removed (RCMP Record Suspension & Purge Services, P.O. Box 8885, Ottawa, ON K1G 3M8).
Will a 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 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.
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