What is a record suspension?
Have you been convicted of a criminal offence and have a hard time finding employment in Canada or abroad and like to remove your criminal record from public screening? If this is your situation you may qualify for record suspension. The Canadian Parole Board receives over thousands of applications for record suspension to eliminate their criminal record from the public for good. So don’t worry you are not alone, if you have completed your sentence and have shown you are law-abiding citizen you may qualify to apply for record suspension.
A record suspension allows you to receive a pardon for a particular offence you committed. Once you have completed your sentence for a crime you been convicted for, you are eligible for a record suspension (also known as a pardon). Receiving a record suspension will give you a pardon on that specific offence. If you are convicted of a criminal offence and have completed your sentence and have shown you are law-abiding citizen for period of time you can request to keep your criminal record separate from your other criminal records.
How to apply for record suspension?
To apply for a record suspension, you will apply to the Parole Board of Canada (PBC). In some cases, your application for a record suspension may be refused or revoked. This may be because of lack of information or improper filing. There also may be years before you can apply for a record suspension. In many of these cases it may be 5 or 10 years from which you completed your sentence. But, this depends on how many offences you committed or the seriousness of the crime (summary or indictable).
Who cannot obtain a record suspension?
- Committing sexual assault to a minor (Schedule One offence)
- Committing more than 3 indictable offences.
- Convicted of an offence as an adult in Canada under a federal act or another regulation of Canada
- Convicted of a crime in another country and were transferred to Canada under the Transfer of Offenders Act or International Transfer of Offenders Act
Even if your offence was a long time ago, the crime you committed will still be on present on your criminal record. This means it will not go away. It can go away by taking the necessary steps by you to remove which is to obtain a record suspension for the offense.
Can I reapply for a record suspension?
Yes, you can reapply for the record suspension and will need to send an application to the Parole Board of Canada. However, you can only do this one year after applying previously. When you do re-apply, you have a better chance of your record suspension application being accepted.
If you are outside of Canada, you will need to overcome your criminal inadmissibility. You can do this obtaining a US waiver (if American), temporary resident permit, or criminal rehabilitation.
When should I file my application?
It is highly recommended to prepare the paperwork well in advance because compiling the appropriate documentation can take several months. To process your application it can take between 1-2 years.
Will my criminal record be erased if the offense occurred a long time ago?
Your criminal record will not be removed even if the offence you committed was a long time ago. In all cases you must take the necessary steps to have it removed and obtain a record suspension.
However it is important to keep in mind that obtaining a record suspension will not erase the fact that you were convicted of a crime. Once you have been granted a record suspension, the record of your conviction will be kept separate from other criminal records. On the application the question you will most commonly be asked is “Do you have a criminal record for which record suspension has not been granted?” To this you would answer no, but if you are asked if you ever committed an offence, you will say yes but it has been pardoned.
These steps are only for if you committed the offence inside of Canada. If you committed the offence outside of Canada, then you will need to overcome it. For example, you can apply for a temporary resident permit, US Waiver (if American), or criminal rehabilitation.
Who processes record suspensions?
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) processes record suspensions (pardons), revocations and cessation of record suspensions. The RCMP deals with sealing or reactivating the criminal record when a record suspension is granted, revoked, or ceased to have effect, and passes this information to other agencies on behalf of the Parole Board of Canada (PBC).
Who is responsible for record suspension?
The organization that is responsible for record suspension would be the Parole Board of Canada (PBC). If you have questions and concerns in regards to your record suspension it should be forwarded to Parole Board of Canada office.
Who seals my record suspension?
The RCMP will seal your criminal record upon notification that a record suspension has been granted by the Parole Board of Canada.
Who does not need to apply for a record suspension?
When charges against you were dismissed, stayed or withdrawn or did not result in a conviction you do NOT need to apply for record suspension. If you record is on the RCMP and your charges did not result in a conviction then you contact the office and request every information that was taken at the time of the arrest be destroyed. They may deny this request, if this happens contact the local police on what steps you need to take for non-convictions records to be removed from your record permanently.
How to send an appeal to the RCMP?
You can send an appeal letter to the RCMP address and should include the following information in your letter.
- identifying the error or decision made
- include any new information that was obtained which was not included in the original request
- provide additional supporting documents to support the appeal
- copies of the Crown proceedings
- police records
- court documents
Are young person’s criminal records processed same as Adults?
No, young persons’ criminal records are processed differently than adults.
What is a Summary offence and Indictable Offence?
- When a young person is found guilty of a summary offence, the record will be removed after three years of the sentence.
- When the young person is found guilty of an indictable offence, the record is kept active for a period of five years after the sentence.
- If, prior to the expiration of the periods, a conviction for a subsequent summary offence or an indictable offence is entered against a young person, the retention period for all entries will begin anew. Once the retention period for the subsequent offence has expired, the entries are then transferred to a special repository.
- If the young person charge is dismissed, withdrawn, or stayed the record is transferred to a special repository.
What is an Absolute and Conditional Discharge?
- If you are found guilty and given an absolute discharge as a young person, the record is moved to a special repository for one year from the date of the sentence.
- If you are found guilty and given a conditional discharge, the record is moved to a special repository for three years from the date of sentence.
- Once moved to special repository system it cannot be accessed by agencies only by record suspension and purge services
Tips for applying for record suspension application
If you are planning to submit your own record suspension application it very important to read the guidelines for filling out record suspension forms. Every step should be completed accurately and doubling checking your work. To avoid delays in your application it is very important to take your time when filling out your form to avoid minor errors in the application.
Another important tip is making sure you answer all the questions truthfully. Once you completed this part go back and review your answers to make sure you have given accurate information and have not left anything important out.
Keep in mind that names are written on both sides of your forms and signing your name on all the forms where the signature is indicated. Failing to sign a form can be sent back to you with refusal.
Finally, making sure you got the proper stamps or seals for police record check forms and including a copy of your identification. Don’t forget to include your original documents where necessary.
Akrami and Associates can help!!
Many times individuals attempt on filing their application on their own as a result applications are being returned due to incomplete or missing information. This then results into delays that can range from days to years which could put your entire life essentially on hold. To avoid this delays, it is recommended to hire an immigration expert that will fill out the application completely and accurately and if you have filed on your and it was refused we will determine why it was refused and work with you and the Parole Board. We will assist you every step of the way and ease your tension when we re-apply. Our immigration lawyers have a lot of experience in this area and are glad to help you out as well. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Contact us at 416-477-2545 or call our toll free number at 1-877-820-7121 to book a consultation and determine your options available.