The following article provides answers to common questions regarding obtaining a criminal record suspension, as well as the options available for accessing record suspension services in Toronto area.
Why Should I Apply For a Record Suspension?
A record suspension can help you to gain suitable employment, to access education and to more easily reintegrate into society after having committed an offence.
Once your record has been suspended the information about your conviction will be kept apart from other criminal records. This means that when a standard record check is performed, your conviction will not show up. Record checks are common for many jobs and educational opportunities as well as volunteer work, immigration, career advancement and other opportunities.
A record suspension will remove the information about your conviction from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), so that your record will not show up in an RCMP search and will require special permission to be accessed. Most municipal and provincial police agencies will also be required to set aside your record once it has been suspended.
A record suspension makes it illegal for Crown Corporations, the Canadian Forces and any business under authority to discriminate against you.
What Are the Limitations of a Record Suspension?
It is important to keep in mind that a record suspension does not change the fact that you were convicted of a serious offence. The following is a list of some of the limitations to a record suspension:
- Your criminal record may still impact your ability to obtain a visa or enter another country.
- If you have prohibitions, such as those related to driving or owning firearms, these will still apply after your record is suspended.
- If you have been convicted of a sexual offence, even if you have received a record suspension for the offence, your name may still be flagged in the CPIC if you apply to work with children or with other vulnerable groups of people.
Am I Eligible For a Record Suspension?
If you have been convicted of a crime under the Act or Regulation of Canada, and have completed your sentence, waited the appropriate period of time after the completion of your sentence, and shown that you can abide by the laws, a record suspension may be available to you.
Canadian Citizens, non-Canadian citizens, and those who have been convicted of a crime in another country and transferred to Canada are all potentially eligible for a record suspension.
Individuals who have been convicted of a Schedule One offence under the Criminal Records Act, and those who have been convicted of more than three offences, which were prosecuted by an indictment and involved prison sentences of two years or more, are not eligible to apply for a record suspension.
What defines my sentence as complete?
For a sentence to be considered complete you must have finished serving any and all sentences of imprisonment, and conditional sentences, which include parole and statutory release. You also have to have completely paid all related fines, surcharges, costs, restitution and compensations orders, and have satisfied your probation order.
What is the appropriate waiting time?
The amount of time you must wait after completing your sentence depends of the type of offence you were convicted of. For a summary offence, which includes DUIs and shoplifting, or a service offence under the National Defence Act, you must wait at least 5 years. For an indictable offence, which includes theft over $5000 and intimidation, or a service offence under the National Defence Act with a fine over $5,000 and detainment or imprisonment for more than 6 months, you must wait at least 10 years before you can apply for a record suspension. Click here for more info and answers to frequently asked questions.
How do I Get a Record Suspension in Toronto?
Pardons Canada is a National Non-Profit Agency that can assist you in taking all of the necessary steps to receiving a record suspension.
You can access Pardons Canada’s Record Suspension services online at Pardons.org
If you live in Toronto you have the benefit of accessing in-person service at 45 St. Clair W., Ste 901. Office hours are from 8:30am to 5pm. Consultations are free and no appointment is necessary.