Simon Says

Bringing clarity to the inner workings of our legal system

7 Things to know about record suspension eligibility

1.Record suspensions are different than record purges. Those who are convicted of an offence can apply for a record suspension after the waiting period has elapsed. Those who receive discharges have their records automatically purged by the RCMP after a certain amount of time. For an absolute discharge, records are destroyed after 1 year. For a conditional discharge, they are destroyed after 3 years.

2. There is a waiting period to apply for a record suspension. For summary offences, the waiting period it is 5 years. For indictable offences, the waiting period is 10 years. In Ontario and BC, those convicted prior to 2012 only need to wait 3 years for a summary offence and 5 years for an indictable offence.

3. The waiting period starts from the date the sentence ends, not the date of the conviction. This means the clock only begins to run after prison time is served, probation is complete, and any fines are paid.

4. Record suspensions are generally not available to people convicted of certain offences. These offences are listed in Schedule 1, which lists various sexual offences against minors. However, a person who has been convicted of a Schedule 1 offence may still be eligible for a record suspension, depending on the circumstances of the offence.

5. Record suspensions are unavailable to people who have been convicted of more than three indictable offences carrying, each carrying a prison sentence of 2+ years.

6. People who are not Canadian citizens can apply for a record suspension. This includes citizens of other countries and permanent residents. However, the offence must have occurred in Canada.

7. There is a new streamlined process for those convicted of simple possession of marijuana. There is no waiting period and no application fee, and people can apply even if they have outstanding fines or victim surcharges (the rest of the sentence must have been completed though).

Past performance is not indicative of future results, and outcomes will vary according to the facts of individual cases. This site is intended for information purposes only. None of the information on this site should be considered “legal advice.” Information on this website (including blog posts and answers to frequently asked questions) is the opinion of the author only and is not warrantied or guaranteed to be an exhaustive, definitive, or accurate statement of the law. The proper interpretation and application of the law must always be done on a case specific basis; therefore, you should not rely on the general information on this site as a substitute for proper legal research or the advice of a licenced lawyer.