Resolving inadmissibility for a criminal conviction that occurred in Canada
What is a record suspension?
Individuals who have been convicted of a criminal offence and have completed their sentence and demonstrated that for a minimum of a certain number of years they have demonstrated that they would not re-offend and are a participating member of society are eligible to have their criminal records set aside from searchable records.
The effect of the record suspension is to eliminate the presence of an offence from the applicant’s record from the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC)’s database. Therefore, if a person were to search the CPIC database for the applicant’s information, nothing would appear. Most people use this process to avoid having their prior convictions disclosed to employers or educational institutions and may, in the case of foreign nationals seeking to overcome their inadmissibility to Canada, allow for post-conviction travel to Canada.
Which government department handles record suspensions?
It is the Parole Board of Canada that has exclusive jurisdiction over issuing, revoking and refusing Canadian Record Suspensions obtained after convictions in Canada.
Revocation of a Canadian Record Suspension
The Parole Board of Canada can revoke a lawfully obtained Record Suspension if the applicant is convicted of a subsequent offence, is found to have misrepresented themselves or their case before the board or where there is evidence that the applicant has committed an act that is not considered “good conduct”.
Who is eligible for a Record Suspension?
An individual may be eligible for a Record Suspension if they were convicted, in Canada of an offence under a Canadian Federal Statute or Regulation. It is important to note the word conviction. Those who have obtained conditional or absolute discharges or those convicted as a Juvenile Offender do not need a Record Suspension as those are not considered convictions by the Parole Board of Canada nor the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Please be advised that Record Suspensions are discretionary and though a person may apply for one, they are in no way guaranteed.
Applying for a Record Suspension
You must have fully completed your sentence imposed by the court in order to qualify, this includes any costs, fines, compensation or restitution orders. It also includes any sentence of prison, paroles, probations and/or conditional sentences.
NB:If you were convicted of a driving related offence and your driving prohibition was not imposed by the court, but rather a provincial authority, this does not count in the calculation of your sentence.
The minimum required period must have elapsed before you submit your application for a record suspension. It is advisable to obtain your court records to establish the dates of the commission of the offence and whether the crown proceeded by summary or indictable conviction.
As illustrated in the table below, there are different minimum waiting periods depending on the date of completion of your sentence.
For offences where the sentence was completed prior to June 28, 2010 – the minimum waiting period for indictable offences is 5 years and the minimum waiting period for summary offences is 3 years.
For offences between June 29, 2010 and March 12, 2012 the minimum waiting period is as follows:
-10 years for an offence involving serious personal injury including manslaughter or any offence where the term of imprisonment was 2 years or longer – please see s. 752 of the Canadian Criminal Code for a definition of serious personal injury.
-5 years for any other indictable offence and for summary offences that appear on Schedule 1 (sexual offence involving a child)
-3 years for any other offence that is not referenced above and was punishable by summary conviction
For offences that occurred on March 13, 2021 and following the minimum waiting period is 10 years for indictable offences and 5 years for summary offences.
The court record will specify whether the crown proceeded by indictment or summary conviction – if the method of trial was not specified, the default position is the longer of the minimum eligibility periods.
Exclusions from the record suspension process
Individuals who have been convicted of an offence with a term of imprisonment 2 years or longer for more than 3 indictable offences may not apply for a record suspension.
Individuals who were convicted of a Schedule 1 offence (sexual offence involving a child) require special permission before applying for a record suspension.
To find out if you are eligible for a record suspension or for more information on travelling to Canada after a criminal conviction, please fill out the form above for a free consultation and we will be happy to contact you within one business day.