Once a record has been suspended, the criminal record is effectively sealed and will not show up in the search process. This allows a person who has been convicted of a criminal offence the ability to separate their criminal history from other records.
A record suspension is generally only granted if the person has demonstrated progress over a number of years after completing their sentence, including no further arrests or criminal convictions. If a record suspension (or pardon) is granted, a person can truthfully answer “no” if an employer asks if they’ve been convicted of a crime, opening up future possibilities for employment.
What Will a Background Check Reveal?
Generally speaking, a background check will not reveal your criminal record if you have been granted a record suspension, and in addition, it will not reveal that you have been granted a suspension either. It will appear as if you have never been convicted of a crime.
Record suspension removes all information about the conviction from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. Federal agencies cannot give out information about the conviction without approval from the Minister of Public Safety Canada.
It’s important to note that record suspensions do not have any affect on prohibition orders.
Record Suspensions vs. Pardons
As a result of Bill-C10, Canadian Pardons are now referred to as Record Suspensions and new rules went into effect on March 13, 2012. The criteria for eligibility also changed.
To obtain a record suspension, you must meet the following criteria:
- Convicted of a crime in Canada
- Convicted of a crime abroad in another country where the case was transferred to Canada
- Completed all sentences given
- Paid any fines, surcharges, costs, restitution and compensation orders
- Completed the probation order
- Completed the designated waiting period – this can be anywhere between 5-10 years depending on the offence
Are there any ineligible offences?
Yes, if you have been charged with a Schedule 1 Offence (a sexual offence involving a child) under the Criminal Records act or more than three offences prosecuted by indictment along with prison sentences of two or more years (for each offence) you will not be eligible for a record suspension.
Filling out the application
All answers given in the application must be truthful and concealing information or making false deceptive statements will result in your application being denied. Your record suspension can also be revoked immediately or will be ceased at a later date.
Essentially, obtaining a record suspension is most useful for the process of integrating into society following a criminal conviction and re-habilitation. It’s particularly helpful for those who committed crimes in their youth and were charged as adults. It allows those with a criminal history to get on with their lives and have the same access to opportunities as those who have never been convicted of a crime.