What is a criminal record?
A criminal record in Canada is a record of an individual's criminal history, including any convictions, charges, and findings of guilt. It is maintained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and can be used by law enforcement and other government agencies to determine an individual's suitability for certain activities, such as employment or travel. Criminal records can be sealed or expunged under certain circumstances, such as when an individual has been granted a pardon.
Advantages of removing Criminal Records
A Criminal Record Suspension (formerly known as a Pardon) is a legal process that allows individuals who have been convicted of a criminal offense to have their criminal record sealed. It is important for the following reasons:
It allows individuals who have served their sentence and have been rehabilitated to move on with their lives without the stigma and discrimination that can be associated with having a criminal record.
It can improve employability by removing the criminal record as a barrier to certain types of jobs, volunteering and professional licenses.
It can improve travel opportunities by removing the barrier of having a criminal record for entering other countries.
It can improve quality of life by allowing individuals to participate fully in society without the limitations imposed by a criminal record.
It can restore an individual's rights and privileges that are taken away after a criminal conviction.
It can improve an individual's ability to access housing, credit, and other services that may be denied to someone with a criminal record.
How long a criminal record remain in file?
In Canada, criminal records are maintained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and are kept on file for a specified period of time, depending on the nature of the offense and the individual's record.
For summary convictions, the record will be kept for 3 years after the individual has completed their sentence or has been discharged. For indictable convictions, the record will be kept for 5 years after the individual has completed their sentence or has been discharged.
However, if an individual receives a Criminal Record Suspension (formerly known as a Pardon), their criminal record will be sealed and is no longer accessible to the public, law enforcement agencies and employers.
It's worth noting that some specific type of offenses like sex offenses, their record will be kept for life.
How can you remove your criminal records?
In Canada, there are several ways to remove or seal a criminal record, the most common being a Criminal Record Suspension (formerly known as a Pardon). A Criminal Record Suspension is a legal process that allows individuals who have been convicted of a criminal offense to have their criminal record sealed.
To be eligible for a Criminal Record Suspension, an individual must have completed their sentence, including any probation or parole, and a waiting period must have passed, which varies depending on the offense. The individual must also not have any outstanding charges or convictions and must not be currently serving a sentence.
The application process for a Criminal Record Suspension involves submitting an application to the Parole Board of Canada along with any required documentation, including fingerprints and a criminal record check. The Parole Board will then review the application and make a decision.
Another way of removing criminal records is by getting a record suspension or destruction order under the youth justice system, which applies to young offenders, who were under the age of 18 when the crime was committed.
Additionally, if the individual was acquitted or if charges were withdrawn, stayed or dismissed, they can apply to the RCMP to have their fingerprints and photographs removed from the criminal records system.
It's worth noting that even if an individual's criminal record is removed or sealed, it may still be accessible to law enforcement agencies in certain circumstances, such as when an individual is being considered for certain types of employment or is being investigated for another crime.