Record Suspension FAQ
When a Record Suspension is granted, and your criminal record is removed from the database, people of the public are no longer viewable, such as future employers.
It is important to note that a criminal record can never be truly permanently erased. Rather it is set aside when a Record Suspension is granted and can only be pulled by those in authoritative positions, such as members of the RCMP.
To be eligible for a Record Suspension, you must have been convicted in court and have completed your ordered sentence. Some of the most common types of sentences include probation, fine payment, community service and time served.
You are then required to wait the specified amount of time from the date that your sentence was completed to be eligible. This amount of time will depend on your charge:
- Withdrawn, dismissed or acquitted charges: 5 months
- Absolute discharges, most peace bonds and stayed charges: 1 year
- Conditional charges: 3 years
- Summary convictions: 5 years
- Indictable convictions: 10 years
It is important to note that you will be considered ineligible by the Parole Board of Canada to receive a Record Suspension if you encounter any problems with the police during your waiting period. Take this into account when applying!
Acquiring a Record Suspension on your own usually takes about 2-3 years from start to finish as there are a number of requirements involved in the process. A Record Suspension application is much more than sending off a few forms at your convenience. All forms and requirements must be met with the exact specifications as needed.
An indictable offence in Canada is also known as an Indictable Conviction Offense. Indictable offences are the more severe offences under the Criminal Code. They come with more severe punishments, such as longer prison sentences, probation and prohibition orders and larger fines.
Examples of Indictable Offenses:
- Possession of a Narcotics for the Purpose of Trafficking
- Break & Enter
- Assault Causing Bodily Harm
- Assault with a Weapon
- Theft Over
- Fraud Over
- A Record Suspension will not clear your entry into any country that is already aware of your criminal record.
- A Record Suspension will not clear your Driver’s Abstract.
- A Record Suspension will not clear a record of bankruptcy.
- A Record Suspension will not clear a driving or firearms prohibition order.
- A Record Suspension does not destroy court records. Instead, they are sealed and held separately.
- A Record Suspension will only seal convictions the Pardons and Clemency Board is made aware of at the time of consideration.
An employer may ask you if you “have ever been convicted of a criminal offence for which a Record Suspension has not been granted” if you live or work in a province where questions regarding criminal records are allowed.
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland do not have laws in place prohibiting these questions. Employers are all prohibited by law from asking about your record in Ontario, British Columbia, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories.
Certain jobs always require a background check and a criminal record search. This is the case when you would be working with vulnerable sectors such as children, the elderly, or the disabled.
Individuals convicted of sexual offences against minors, and those convicted of more than three indictable offences, each with a sentence of two or more years, are now ineligible for a record suspension.
If you have an arrest record, it is accessible when you complete a Local Police Records Check or Criminal Background Check. When someone requests a Criminal Background check for employment, an individual with a non-conviction may come back with results indicating that they “may or may not” have a criminal record. This is misleading to the employer. Another example of the arrest record showing up may be a police intervention such as a noise complaint or a record of driving over the speed limit when the police must pull up your name in their internal database. They can see if your previous arrest record – and this may not act in your favour.
Criminal background checks carried out by a third party would not have access to your youth record; however, any criminal background checks applied for personally may show your youth record, as you will always have access to your history.
If you have ever served in the Canadian Military, 497Cleared will request your military conduct sheet, either regular or reserve. Anything that shows up on your military record will be removed as part of the record suspension application.
Often, a foreign office will not complete the Local Police Records Check form sent by the Parole Board of Canada. If this is the case, a signed letter from the Police Service stating that you have been in good conduct will also be accepted when submitting your application to the Parole Board of Canada.
If it is in a foreign language, you must have the documents translated. The translated documents and original Foreign Local Police Records Check must be submitted with all other documents.
The National Parole Board has the sole discretion to grant, deny, or revoke a Record Suspension application. The Pardons and Clemency board may propose to deny a record suspension after making its review and evaluating for good conduct.
The Board will consider the following when making their decision:
- Information about charges that were subsequently withdrawn, stayed, or dismissed.
- Charges that resulted in a peace bond, diversion, or acquittal will also be investigated. The relevance of this information increases when the charges are serious, and are related to the convictions on the record for which the suspension is requested.
- Regarding a peace bond or the use of alternative measures (e.g. Community service), adherence to the conditions, the date on which the conditions were imposed, and the date of the originating incident will also be taken into account.
- Any record of absolute or conditional discharges.
- Information about convictions under provincial statutes.
- Information provided by law enforcement agencies about suspected or alleged illegal behaviour.
- Representations provided on behalf of the applicant or 497Cleared.
With respect to applicants convicted of a sex offence prosecuted by way of indictment, any information received from law enforcement agencies further to inquiries made by the Board.
Should information come to light that warrants a proposal to deny from the Board, a notice will be given 60 days in which the proposal can be appealed.
A senior member of 497Cleared will help construct an appropriate response to any proposal to deny a record suspension for our client.
If you have received a Record Suspension and are subsequently convicted of a new criminal offence, then your record may be brought back. If you are convicted of an indictable offence, this is done automatically.
If the conviction is for a summary offence, the National Parole Board will determine whether to revoke the Record Suspension or not.
They will consider:
- Past convictions that have been pardoned or suspended.
- Information that suggests a significant disregard for public safety and laws and regulations.
- Information that suggests a significant disregard for public safety and/or laws and regulations
- Whether the new offence is consistent with the offence for which the Record Suspension has been issued or granted.
- The time period since the satisfaction of all sentences.
If the National Parole Board revokes your Record Suspension for whatever reason, you can apply for it again once you meet the eligibility requirements.
Every court that heard the case.
A Court Information Check may not always match up with the Criminal Record Check, and if that is the case, Court Transcripts need to be submitted for further clarification of the actual incident.
The court holds all true copies, and if needed, the RCMP and Police Services need to be contacted to change their information according to the Court Transcripts.
A Canadian Pardon/Record Suspension is recognized by the United States when:
You have never been denied entry into the United States and have not entered the United States since your criminal convictions in Canada. You have since obtained a Canadian Pardon / Record Suspension.
In this case, when entering the United States, they should not detect that you have a criminal record in Canada since the records should be removed after you are granted a Record Suspension. Unless you verbally tell them of your record, there would be no way for them to know.
A Canadian Pardon/Record Suspension is not recognized by the United States when:
You obtain a Canadian Pardon / Record Suspension after being denied or flagged by the United States. The United States does not recognize a Canadian Pardon / Record Suspension since they maintain their separate database of background information. They will still see you as having a criminal record.
An absolute discharge does not require a Record Suspension.
If your absolute discharge took place before the date of July 24, 1992, you would require a record purge to remove the documents in question. A purge application for an absolute discharge is not necessary to remove records formed on or after July 24, 1992, as these records will be purged automatically three years after the completion of any imposed sentence. However, in some rare cases, records are not properly removed, and a Purge Application may need to be completed.
To confirm that the files have been purged, a Local Police Records Check would be required.
A Local Police Records Check shows local records only. It may not show records from other cities or provinces. (See: Canadian Criminal Record Check or CPIC for full records in Canada). A Local Police Records Check may show criminal records and incident reports such as noise complaints or other police interventions.
For a Record Suspension, a Local Police Records Check needs to be completed for the city or town you currently live in, in addition to every city or town you have lived in the last five years for three months or more.
The Local Police Records Check results will not usually show any additional charges (that were not already listed by the Criminal Record Check); however, if additional charges are shown, a Court Information Check must be completed to retrieve additional information on the offense. This ensures that when a Record Suspension is completed, all applicable records will be removed, even those that were not properly documented in the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC).
When you receive a Record Suspension, your criminal convictions are removed from all searchable databases, including the shared database Canada and the United States share – The Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC).
Unfortunately, the U.S. does not recognize Record Suspension as the government of Canada grants them. There is no such thing as a Record Suspension in the United States, which means that those who wish to travel to the U.S. cannot get there with a Record Suspension alone.
To cross the U.S. border, Canadians must obtain a U.S. Entry Waiver to grant them access for travel within the country. U.S. Entry Waivers can be granted through a separate application process in 1, 3, or 5-year terms.
You can travel to all other countries with a Record Suspension but may be required to get a Visa for travel to certain countries. A criminal record check can be a part of this process and will vary from country to country.