Canadian Record Suspension

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.

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Record Suspension

If you have been convicted of a crime in Canada, that conviction could cause you to be deemed inadmissible to the country and can prevent any future travel to Canada.

For individuals who find themselves in this situation, having your Canadian criminal record set aside in order to restore your admissibility to Canada is an option.

Record Suspension

A record suspension, processed by the Parole Board of Canada, is available for any person who was convicted of a crime in Canada.  If you were convicted of any crime in Canada or were convicted of a crime abroad and were transferred to Canada through the national or international Transfer of Offenders Act, you may be eligible for a record suspension.

Record suspensions do not erase a conviction from a person’s criminal history, but it does set it aside and separates the conviction from the rest of your criminal record.  A record suspension also removes the conviction from the Canadian Police Information Centre database and removes the negative consequences that may have been a result of that conviction, including criminal inadmissibility to Canada.

Record suspensions are only necessary in cases where a person was convicted of the crime in question.  A record suspension in unnecessary for individuals who received a conditional discharge, an absolute discharge, a dismissal, or any other non-conviction.

In order to be eligible for a record suspension, the entire sentence imposed for the crime must be completed and a waiting period must have passed.

For individuals convicted of a summary offence in Canada, five years must have passed from the completion of all terms of the sentence before a record suspension is a possibility.

For individuals convicted of an indictable offence in Canada, ten years must have passed from the completion of all terms of the sentence before a record suspension is a possibility.

*An individual is deemed to have completed a sentence if:

– They have paid all fines, surcharges, costs, and restitution and compensation orders in full

– They have served all sentences of imprisonment, conditional sentences including parole and statutory release

– They have satisfied their probation orders

Certain convictions make a person ineligible for a record suspension, including sex offenses involving a child.  If you have been convicted of more than three indictable crimes in Canada and each received a sentence of imprisonment of two years or more, you are also ineligible for record suspension.

Please note: If you have been convicted of crimes in both Canada and another country, obtaining a record suspension alone will not be sufficient to make you admissible to Canada.  To resolve the criminal convictions from your home country, you will also need to apply for Criminal Rehabilitation or a Temporary Resident Permit in combination with a record suspension.

The Parole Board of Canada may revoke a record suspension if:

–       The  person is later convicted of a summary offence under a federal act or regulation of Canada;

–       The PBC finds that the person is no longer of good conduct;

–       The PBC learns that a false or deceptive statement was made, or relevant information was concealed at the time of the application

A record suspension may cease to have effect if:

–       The person is subsequently convicted of an indictable offence under a federal act or regulation of Canada;

–       The person is convicted of an offense punishable either on indictable or summary conviction;

–       If the PBC is convinced by new information that the person was not actually eligible for a record suspension at the time it was ordered

In the above-mentioned circumstances, the records of the offences will again be kept with the other conviction records.

FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration follow FWCanada on FacebookTwitter, and Linkedin