A criminal conviction will remain on your criminal record until the person applies for and is granted a record suspension, which is formally called a pardon. Under the Criminal Records Act, the Parole Board of Canada (“PBC”) is responsible for the granting of record suspensions.
A record suspension is a process which provides you with an opportunity to have your criminal record set aside from other active criminal records, given that you have completed the sentence and have demonstrated that you are a law-abiding citizen. A record suspension will ensure that any search in CPIC will not show your criminal record nor will it indicate that you were issued a record suspension. However, it is important to note that a record suspension does not erase the convicted offence, but merely sets it aside.
What is a criminal record?
Criminal Records are administered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“RCMP”). A criminal record is documentation of an individual’s contact or involvement with the criminal justice system. A criminal record will include any crimes you have been charged with or convicted of along with any non-convictions, both findings of guilt and no finding of guilt, under the Criminal Code or the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Criminal convictions that will appear on your criminal record will include any custodial, intermittent, suspended, or conditional sentence along with any fines or forfeiture.
Non-convictions, where there is a finding of guilt, that appear on your criminal record include both absolute and conditional discharges. However, it is important to note that under the Criminal Records Act, an absolute discharge be removed from the RCMP database after one year and after 3 years for a conditional discharge
For non- conviction where there is no finding of guilt, any police contact, mental health apprehension, where charges are withdrawn, charges are withdrawn because of alternative measures, acquittal at trial or a stay of proceeding may appear on your criminal record.
Who can access your criminal record?
The Canadian Police Information Centre (“CPIC”) is where criminal records are available to all police stations and authorized authorities.
Under the Privacy Act of Canada, you have the right to access your own criminal record. A copy of your criminal record can be obtained by either the RCMP or your local police station by providing two pieces of valid government-issued ID such as your driver’s license and a passport.
Federal and provincial law enforcement agencies can also access your criminal record through the CPIC. These agencies include Citizenship and Immigration of Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, the Canada Border Services Agency and Military Police.
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act does not allow your personal information to be given out to agencies such as the federal or provincial government. However, information about your criminal record can be given out to employers, schools, colleges or universities if you sign a criminal record release form.
What is the pardon or record suspension process?
The record suspension process consists of nine steps as follows:
1. Get your Criminal Record
The first step in the record suspension process is to get your criminal record. Getting your criminal record can take up to 6 weeks to receive. Your criminal record can be obtained from the RCMP or any local police station by providing two pieces of valid government-issued picture ID. You must also get your fingerprints taken by either visiting an accredited fingerprinting company or a police service that has the ability to submit your fingerprints electronically. Furthermore, if you have any convictions outside of Canada, you must also submit these convictions to the PBC along with your criminal record.
2. Get Your Court Information
After you have received your criminal record, you will be required to get the Court information for each of your convictions. This can be done by taking a Court Information Form to the relevant court you were sentenced in along with your criminal record. The Court will be required to fill in the relevant part of the Court Information Form and stamp the form with an official Court seal or stamp.
3. Military Conduct Sheet
If you are a current or past member of the Canadian forces you must get a certified, signed and dated copy of your Military Conduct Sheet.
If you are not a current or past member of the Canadian forces, you do not need to complete the above-mentioned process.
4. Obtain your local police record check
A police record check is separate and different from a criminal record. Information for a police record check is searched from three databases. A police record check will disclose the following:
Canada-wide Criminal Record History;
Vulnerable Sector Search;
Local police information;
All upcoming court dates and appearances and
Alberta Provincial court records.
A police record check can be obtained by taking a completed Local Police Records Check Form to your local police service along with your criminal record and two pieces of valid government-issued ID.
5. Obtain copies of your document to support your identity
A valid government-issued document must be photocopied and provided in your application to support your identity. This document must include your name, date of birth and signature.
6. Schedule 1 Exception Form
A Schedule 1 exception form is only required if you have a conviction for a Schedule 1 offence and your first offence was committed on or after March 13, 2012.
Section 4(2) of the Criminal Records Act specifies that you are ineligible to apply for a record suspension if you have been convicted of an offence referred to in Schedule 1. A Schedule 1 offence is a sexual offence involving a child.
However, s.4(3) of the Criminal Records Act further indicates that even if you have committed a Schedule 1 offence, you may still apply for a record suspension if the PBC is satisfied that you:
were not in a position of trust or authority towards the victim of the offence and the victim was not in a relationship of dependency with you;
did not use, threaten to use or attempt to use violence, intimidation or coercion in relation to the victim; and
were less than five years older than the victim.
7. Fill in the Record Suspension Application Form
As part of the record suspension application, you must complete the Record Suspension Application Form, which is only valid 12 months from the date you sign it.
8. Fill in the measurable benefit/ Sustained Rehabilitation Form
Under s.4.1 of the Criminal Records Act you must clearly showcase how receiving a record suspension would provide you with a measurable benefit and sustain rehabilitation into a law-abiding citizen. As such, if your offence was committed on or after June 29, 2010, a Measurable Benefit/ Sustained Rehabilitation form is part of your record suspension application.
9. Application Process Fee
A Record Suspension Application Processing Fee must be included with your record suspension application. The current Record Suspension application fee, as of January 1, 2022, is $50.00.
Once the above-mentioned steps have been completed, the completed application will be mailed directly to the PBC. For record suspension applications for offences tried summarily, the application will be processed within 6 months of the PBC accepting the application. For applications in which the offence was tried by indictment, the application will be processed within 12 months of PBC accepting your application.
How can Oykhman Criminal Defense support me?
Criminal Records are frowned upon in many situations and have a significant impact on your quality of life when it comes to situations such as employment, housing, and travelling. Submitting a Record Suspension Application can be a stressful task. It requires that all steps and forms of the Record Suspension Application process are completed accurately without any mistakes, to ensure that the PBC does not reject or send your application back.
Oykhman Criminal Defence Lawyers have experience in successfully obtaining Record Suspensions for our Clients. We will help relieve the stress of applying for a Record Suspension by communicating with the Parole Board of Canada on your behalf and ensuring that a persuasive record suspension application is put forward for you so you can return to your life as normal.
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