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Record Suspension

Persons who are inadmissible on grounds of criminality and serious criminality may be eligible for rehabilitation after a certain number of years depending on the type of offence committed. However, one of the eligibility criteria for rehabilitation is that a person must be able to provide proof that a record suspension (formerly a pardon) was obtained where an offence was committed inside Canada. Where a person can show that they have only committed one summary conviction offence, they must be able to provide evidence to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that an application for a record suspension has been submitted.


A record suspension essentially allows a person’s criminal record to be removed from the Canada Police Information Centre’s (CPIC) database. This essentially means that a search of CPIC’s database will not show that the individual has a criminal record or a record suspension. However, persons who have been convicted of a sexual offence will have their record suspension flagged; a search will show they have been convicted of a sexual offence but that a record suspension was granted. 


Where a person received an absolute discharge for the offence on or after July 24, 1992, the Royal Mounted Canadian Police (RCMP) will automatically remove same from their database after 1 year; the record  is removed after 3 years where the discharge was conditional. The option to apply for a record suspension is available to individuals who have been convicted of an offence under a federal act or regulation as an adult, or who were convicted of an offence in another country and were transferred to Canada while serving a sentence under the Transfer of  Offender Act or the International  Transfer of  Offender Act. Further, the person must have completed all sentences, which includes: all fines, surcharges, costs, restitution and compensation orders; all sentences of imprisonment, conditional sentences, including parole and statutory release; any probation order(s). Once the sentence is completed, the following wait times apply before becoming eligible:


If the most recent offence was committed before 29 June 2010:

  • 5 years – an offence prosecuted by indictment.

  • 3 years – an offence punishable on summary conviction.


If the most recent offence was committed between 29 June 2010 and 12 March 2012:

  • 10 years — serious personal injury offence including manslaughter; an offence for which the applicant was sentenced to a prison term of 2 years or more, and an offence referred to in Schedule 1 that was prosecuted by indictment.

  • 5 years — any other offence prosecuted by indictment and an offence referred to in Schedule 1 that is punishable on summary conviction.

  • 3 years — an offence other than the ones mentioned above, that is punishable on summary conviction.


If the most recent offence was on or after 13 March 2012:

  • 10 years — an offence prosecuted by indictment.

  • 5 years — an offence that is punishable on summary conviction.


A person who has committed an offence under Schedule 1 (sexual offence involving a child) of the CRA, or committed four or more offences prosecuted by indictment, each with a prison sentence of two (2) years or more, may not be eligible for a record suspension. With respect to the former, s.3 of the CRA notes that a person may be eligible where it is satisfied that: the person was not in a position of trust or authority towards the victim of the offence and the victim was not in a relationship of dependency with him or her; the person did not use, threaten to use or attempt to use violence, intimidation or coercion in relation to the victim; and the person was less than five years older than the victim.


A record suspension may be revoked or cease to have effect where a person has been found to no longer be of good conduct, convicted of a new indictable offence (or summary in some cases), found to have concealed information, made false or deceptive statements when the application was submitted, or was found to be ineligible for a suspension at the time it was granted.


Simple Cannabis Possession Offence

Through a streamlined cannabis record suspension process, persons convicted in Canada as an adult of simple possession of cannabis may apply for a record suspension. Simple possession is a charge for possession of a controlled substance, in this case cannabis, for personal use. A person can apply even if they have unpaid fines or victim surcharge, but they must complete the other part of the sentence before applying.  

We are here to Help! For more on Record Suspensions and/or assistance with applying for same, let us know by using our contact form.

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