Anybody convicted of a criminal offence in Canada is legally entitled to apply for Record Suspension after they have successfully served out their sentence. The law goes on to specify that they must be able to demonstrate to the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) that they have been leading a crime free life over a specified time period. A successfully Record Suspension application results in the removal of the criminal record from the database of the Canadian Police Information Center. The records are not destroyed but rather sealed so that they are publicly inaccessible. In fact, Canadian employment law specifically prohibits employers from asking a job applicant if they have a criminal record. Employers are supposed to ask the applicant if he/she has a conviction for which a Record Suspension has not been granted.
Before a convict can apply for Record Suspension, they are required to wait until they have served their sentence. This includes paying any fines in full and serving any probation or parole. The waiting period is based on the seriousness of the offence. Less serious crimes have a stipulated time period three years after serving, paying fines and completing parole. More serious crimes have a minimum five years waiting period before the ex-convict is eligible for parole. Indictable sexual offences and manslaughter have a minimum ten year waiting period. Murder is the only offence that is not Record Suspensionable.
After the waiting period has lapsed, the ex-convict makes an application to Parole board of Canada. A fair amount of paper work is involved; it must be submitted in full and must be 100% accurate. Any real or perceived errors will result in an automatic denial of Record Suspension. Once an application is denied, the applicant has to wait another full year before making a second application. Utmost care must therefore be taken when making a Record Suspension application. There are also a number of issues that must be addressed based on the nature of the crime. For example, if the conviction relates to an indictable offence or sexual crime, the applicant must explain to the board how a Record Suspension would be of benefit to them and change their present circumstances. They must also explain the circumstances under which they committed the offence. All this requires very careful planning and preparation. The majority of applicants that apply for Record Suspension on their own, end up getting denied; the surest bet to getting a Record Suspension application granted is to engage the services of an expert.