What is a record suspension?

A record suspension allows people who were convicted of a criminal offence, but have completed their sentence and demonstrated that they are law-abiding citizens for a prescribed number of years, to have their criminal record kept separate and apart from other criminal records.

A record suspension has the effect of removing a person's criminal record from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. This means that a search of CPIC will not show that the individual has a criminal record or a record suspension. This helps them access employment and educational opportunities and to reintegrate into society.

The Criminal Records Act (CRA) applies only to records kept by federal organizations, but most provincial and municipal criminal justice agencies also restrict access to their records once they are told that a record suspension has been ordered.

Who is responsible for record suspensions?

Under the CRA, the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is the official and only federal agency responsible for ordering, refusing to order and revoking record suspensions for convictions under federal acts or regulations of Canada.

Limits of a record suspension:

A record suspension…

  • does not erase a convicted offence, but sets it aside;
  • does not guarantee entry or visa privileges to another country;
  • is flagged in CPIC for former sexual offenders. This is done so that should the individual apply to work or volunteer with a vulnerable sector group (e.g. with children, the elderly) a vulnerable sector check will identify that the individual was convicted of a sexual offence for which a record suspension was received.

A record suspension (or pardon) can be revoked or cease to have effect if you are:

  • Convicted of a new indictable offence, or in some cases, a summary offence;
  • Found to no longer be of good conduct;
  • Found to have made a false or misleading statement, or hidden information when you applied;
  • Found to have been ineligible for a record suspension at the time the record suspension was ordered.

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 (CPIC) database.

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