Information about a person found guilty of a crime is kept in a computerized file by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The file is called a criminal record.
Your criminal record is kept with the criminal records of other people found guilty of a crime unless you ask for a suspension of your criminal record. A criminal record suspension used to be called a pardon.
If you get a suspension, your criminal record is kept confidential by the RCMP. The information in your record becomes inaccessible, except in some rare situations.
Effect of a criminal record suspension
Suspension of your criminal record doesn’t erase the fact that you were found guilty of a crime. So, if anyone asks whether you’ve been found guilty or convicted of a crime or a similar question, you must answer yes. But you can say your criminal record was suspended to show good behaviour and respect for the law. Nationalpardon can reduce the impact of having a criminal record when it comes to jobs
Records held in other places
When you’re charged with a crime, there will be a record of it in other places. For example, the police and the courts have files with information about people accused of a crime.
When your criminal record is suspended, the Parole Board of Canada sends the information to the courthouse and the police. In general, courthouses automatically make the court files inaccessible to the public. This means your record should no longer appear on public court records (known as the “plumitif” in Quebec).
You must either wait 5 or 10 years before asking for a suspension.
You must wait either five or 10 years after completing your sentence before asking for a suspension of your criminal record. The waiting period depends on how serious the crime was and the date on which you were found guilty.
The waiting period starts on the day your sentence is completed. For example, if your sentence was a fine, the waiting period starts on the day the fine is fully paid. If you had a prison sentence, the waiting period starts on the day your sentence, including any community work and probation period, has been completed.
Also read Imginn
The Parole Board considers several factors.
The Parole Board doesn’t have to suspend your criminal record, unless the application concerns a conviction for simple cannabis possession (see above).
To grant you a suspension, the Parole Board must be convinced of these things:
- You have been on good behaviour.
- You were not convicted of another crime during the waiting period.
- The suspension would help you reintegrate into society.
The Parole Board can consider other factors when deciding whether to grant a record suspension:
- the kind and seriousness of the crime
- the duration of the crime
- the circumstances surrounding the crime
- any prior convictions
- any serious physical or psychological harm caused to another person