Managing criminal records

Commitment to privacy

The RCMP's Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS) maintains the National Repository of Criminal Records. Based on fingerprint records, it contains information about a person's criminal history, including charges and the court's final ruling.

CCRTIS ensures that personal and fingerprint information is kept and disclosed in accordance with legislation, including the Identification of Criminals Act, the Criminal Records Act, the Privacy Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The RCMP's Access to Information and Privacy Branch provides information about the contents and uses of the National Repository of Criminal Records and can be found in the Personal Information Banks section, as required by the Privacy Act.

For more information, please see a summary of the CCRTIS Real Time Identification System Privacy Impact Assessment.

Security and access

RCMP's Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS) manages criminal record information that is submitted to it by police and criminal justice officials. Only RCMP certified devices can be used to interact with the system that supports the National Repository of Criminal Records. The specific installation and configuration of these certified devices at an agency site must be approved by the RCMP. Access to criminal records is controlled by security measures that comply with Treasury Board of Canada security standards.

Through international agreements, the RCMP shares criminal records information with foreign authorities who may register this information in their databank.

If you have been convicted of an offence, you may subsequently be refused entry into another country, even if you have since been granted a record suspension in Canada.

Many foreign countries, including the U.S., do not recognize a Canadian record suspension. They may require you to provide a copy of your suspended criminal record in order to determine if you will be admitted to their country. The RCMP has no control over this requirement.

Applying for a copy of your criminal record under the Privacy Act

You can apply for a copy of your criminal record by making a request under the Privacy Act. Results will be sent directly to you. They will never be sent to a third party.

The report is based on a fingerprint search and will contain a copy of the data in the National Repository of Criminal Records as it exists. A copy of your fingerprints is not included in the report. It will contain only that information permitted to be disclosed under federal law. The report you receive cannot be used as a certified copy of a criminal record as it will not have the official RCMP seal or format.

There is no obligation to share your criminal record information with a third party; however, if you decide to do so, you may be sharing information to which the third party would have no legal rights of access. The report could contain criminal record information, such as a record suspension (pardon or sealed youth record), that would not normally be disclosed during a criminal record check.

Steps to apply for a copy of your criminal record under the Privacy Act:

  1. Follow the same steps as you would for requesting a criminal record check. Make sure you indicate that your request is under the Privacy Act. The CDN$ 25 federal processing fee does not apply to a request under the Privacy Act.
  2. In addition, complete and sign the Personal Information Request Form (number TBC/CTC 350-58), which can be found on the Government of Canada website. On the form, clearly state what information you require. For example:
    • active criminal records;
    • suspended criminal record (pardon);
    • archived youth records;
    • archived absolute and conditional discharges;

      or

    • a copy of the entire holdings of the National Repository of Criminal Records.
  3. Provide the form to your local police or accredited fingerprint company who will submit the application for processing.

Non-conviction information and sealed records

The RCMP's Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS) seals records under certain provisions. It also retains both conviction and non-conviction record information in the National Repository of Criminal Records in accordance with legislation. This includes charges that are withdrawn or dismissed.

Visit sealing criminal records and non-conviction information for more detailed information on how these records are managed.

Sealing criminal records

Record suspensions (formerly called pardons)

The Parole Board of Canada is responsible for record suspensions. All inquiries about record suspension applications should be directed to the Parole Board of Canada. Please note that you do not need to apply for a record suspension if charges against you were dismissed, stayed or withdrawn, or did not result in a conviction.

The RCMP's Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS) has three roles related to record suspensions:

  • managing criminal records when record suspensions have been granted or revoked
  • providing copies of criminal records to individuals applying for record suspensions
  • processing requests for copies of suspended records

Managing record suspensions

The RCMP's Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS) manages criminal records that have been suspended in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Records Act.

When the Parole Board of Canada notifies CCRTIS that an individual has been granted a record suspension (pardon), CCRTIS seals the person's criminal record. Once the record is sealed, CCRTIS notifies police services and government agencies who received copies or who contributed information to the criminal record that the person received a record suspension.

The Criminal Records Act allows records suspensions to be revoked in a number of circumstances, such as being convicted of another crime. If this happens, CCRTIS unseals the criminal record and notifies police services and government agencies who received copies or who contributed information to the criminal record that the person's record suspension (pardon) was revoked.

Access to record suspensions or sealed records

Information from criminal record that have been sealed cannot normally be released. Exceptions to this are provided by the Criminal Records Act, whereby the RCMP's Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS) releases some or all of the information related to record suspensions under the following circumstances:

  • To identify crime scene fingerprints
  • To identify amnesiacs
  • To identify deceased persons
  • To respond to requests under the Privacy Act
  • To facilitate vulnerable sector checks
  • When authorised by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, for court, law enforcement and public safety purposes

Absolute and conditional discharges

The Criminal Code allows people who have been found guilty to receive "absolute or conditional discharges" instead of being convicted.

For adults

When adults are found guilty, instead of convicting them, the courts can give them an absolute discharge or a conditional discharge with a probation order. The RCMP's Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS) seals these records in accordance with requirements of the Criminal Records Act.

  • All absolute discharges received on or after July 24, 1992, are sealed after a period of one (1) year from the date of sentence.
  • Absolute discharges received before July 24, 1992, are sealed upon written request from the individual.
  • All conditional discharges received on or after July 24, 1992, sealed three (3) years following the date of the sentence.
  • Conditional discharges registered before July 24, 1992, are sealed upon written request from the individual.

There is no fee to request the destruction of an absolute or conditional discharge that is older than one or three years respectively. Please note that you are not required to make a request if your absolute or conditional discharge is on or after July 24, 1992 – your discharge was/will be removed automatically. If your absolute discharge is before July 24, 1992, simply download the Request to Purge Absolute and/or Conditional Discharge form and complete and send by mail to:

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Record Suspension and Purge Services Box 8885 Ottawa, Ontario K1G 3M8

Requests must contain all of the following information:

  • your full name (including any maiden names or aliases),
  • your date of birth,
  • a complete return mailing address
  • your phone number (include area code), and
  • the particulars of the offence(s) that apply

Did you know?

A criminal record is normally retained until you reach 125 years of age.

Non-conviction information

Non-conviction information refers to information on an individual who has been charged with a crime but not found guilty or convicted. This includes charges that were withdrawn or dismissed.

An individual's file in the National Repository of Criminal Records may include conviction and/or non-conviction records in accordance with legislation, including the Identification of Criminals Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and the Criminal Records Act and other applicable laws.

Non-conviction information is kept in the National Repository of Criminal Records until the individual formally requests its destruction, receives a record suspension, or until the individual reaches the age of 125.

Making a request for the destruction of non-conviction information

To make a request for the destruction of non-conviction information, you must apply to the police service that laid the original charge. If the police approves the request, it will then contact the RCMP's Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS) to request the destruction of the non-conviction information from the National Repository of Criminal Records.

CCRTIS may refuse to destroy the non-conviction information if there are compelling reasons to deny the request. You can appeal this decision by CCRTIS by sending a letter to:

Director General
Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services RCMP, NPS Bldg. 1200 Vanier Parkway Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R2

When appealing a decision, you should identify if there was a factual or processing error regarding the decision, and/or provide new information that was not included in the original request submitted through your local police. You should also provide additional documents to support the appeal, such as copies of applicable Crown proceedings, police records or court documents.

Compelling reasons to deny a request for destroying non-conviction information

The RCMP's Records Suspension & Purge Services may deny an application to destroy a non-conviction record if one or more of the following conditions apply:

  • You have a criminal conviction on file within the National Repository
  • You have an outstanding criminal charge before the courts
  • The appeal period has not expired for the charge
  • Less than one year has passed since you were given a Peace Bond
  • Less than one year has passed since you were given a Stay of Proceedings

In addition to the above conditions, a non-conviction record will be retained for a minimum of five years from the date of the court decision if the charge related to:

  • High treason or treason
  • Potential terrorist activity
  • First and second degree murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Aggravated assault
  • Sexually-based offences

The non-conviction record will also be retained for a minimum of five years in cases where you have been found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

Requests to have the above records destroyed within the five-year period should be supported by additional information, such as Crown proceedings, police services records, and/or court documents.

Date modified: