What is a Record Suspension?
A record suspension, or a pardon, allows people who have been convicted of a criminal offence and completed their sentence to have their criminal record removed from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. This does not mean that the criminal record will be deleted. It only means that when someone searches for that person’s criminal record on the CPIC database, no criminal record will be found. The record suspension will not fully apply to sexual offences, which will appear when a vulnerable sector check is performed for that person.
Do I qualify for a Record Suspension?
Several factors determine whether you are eligible for a record suspension.
- If you have been convicted of an indictable offence, you must wait at least ten years after your sentence has been completed to qualify for a record suspension.
- If you have been convicted of a summary offence, you must wait at least five years after your sentence has been completed to qualify for a record suspension.
- You cannot obtain a record suspension if you have committed three or more offences that were prosecuted by indictment and you were sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more for each offence.
- You cannot obtain a record suspension if you have committed any offences listed in Schedule 1 of the Criminal Records Act. These include many sexual offences. However, some exceptions to this rule are allowed. You can file a Schedule 1 Exception Form if you believe that you could qualify under the Criminal Records Act as an exceptional case.
The Parole Board of Canada will decide, based on your application, whether you have shown good conduct since completing your sentence. Record suspensions will be given to applicants who can prove that they would benefit from obtaining a record suspension and would not go on to commit further offences. The Board will consider the nature, circumstances, and seriousness of the offence committed when determining whether to grant a record suspension.
The Government of Canada offers an online self-assessment tool that helps determine your eligibility for a record suspension based on a series of questions. It can be found here.
How can I obtain a Record Suspension?
The application process for a record suspension is long and detailed. The John Howard Society can help you navigate the system. They can be reached at (709) 726-5500. Below is a list of the steps you will have to take to obtain a record suspension.
- Get a copy of your Criminal Record from the RCMP and, if required, your Proof of Conviction documents. To do this, you will first need to submit your fingerprints electronically. Fingerprints can be taken at some local police departments and several private agencies. To find out more about this process, call 613-998-6362.
- You must fill in the Court Information Form and get court information for each of your convictions. This includes proof of payment for any fines, victim surcharges, restitution, and compensation. This must also include the method of trial for each conviction (summary conviction or indictable). If you were sentenced in more than one Court, you must contact each Court and have them fill in this form.
- Obtain a record check from the local police department in your current municipality, as well as in every municipality in which you have lived for more than three months over the last five years. Make sure to fill out the Local Police Records Check Form.
- If you were a member of the Canadian Forces, you must get a certified, signed and dated copy of your Military Conduct Sheet.
- If you were not born in Canada, you must obtain proof of citizenship or immigration documents.
- Photocopy a government-issued ID.
- If you have been convicted of a Schedule 1 offence, fill out the Schedule 1 Exception Form.
- Fill in all questions on the Record Suspension Application Form.
- Complete all sections of the Measurable Benefit/Sustained Rehabilitation Form. Mail in all relevant documents listed above, along with a $631.00 fee to submit the application.
If you need assistance completing any of the above steps, you can contact the Parole Board of Canada at 1-800-874-2652.