Record suspension (formerly called pardon) and purges

The RCMP processes record suspensions (pardons), revocations and cessation of record suspensions. It seals or reactivates the criminal record when a record suspension is granted, revoked, or ceases to have effect, and notifies the contributing agencies on behalf of the Parole Board of Canada (PBC).

The Parole Board of Canada is the organization responsible for record suspensions. All inquiries about a record suspension application should be directed to a Parole Board of Canada office. For more information on records suspensions, visit the Parole Board of Canada website.

The RCMP will seal your criminal record upon notification that a record suspension has been granted by the Parole Board of Canada.

Sealing Criminal Record information

The RCMP also seals criminal records information in accordance with the Criminal Records Act, Youth Criminal Justice Act, and ministerial directives.

Non-conviction information

You do not need to apply for a Record Suspension if charges against you were dismissed, stayed or withdrawn, or did not result in a conviction.

If charges did not result in a conviction, but your record is on the RCMP system you may contact the investigating police service and ask them to request that your fingerprints and all information taken at the time of arrest be destroyed. The police service may choose to deny this request for specific reasons.

Local police services have their own policy and you should contact them for more information on how non-conviction records are managed. The RCMP has a policy which outlines the criteria they use to determine if the non-conviction information can be destroyed, including compelling reasons to deny the request.

You can appeal the RCMP decision 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 an error in fact or process regarding the decision, and/or new information has been obtained that was not included in the original request. You should also provide additional documents to support the appeal, such as copies of applicable Crown proceedings, police records or court documents.

Retention and disposal of criminal records

Criminal records are retained until the subject of the record reaches one hundred and twenty-five (125) years of age.

Purging of criminal records (discharge)

Absolute discharges

  • All absolute discharges received on or after July 24, 1992, are removed from the criminal record after a period of one (1) year from the date of sentence.
  • Absolute discharges received before July 24, 1992, are removed upon written request from the individual.

Conditional discharges

  • All conditional discharges received on or after July 24, 1992, are removed from the criminal record three (3) years following the date of the sentence.
  • Conditional discharges registered before July 24, 1992, are removed upon written request from the individual.

Please 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

Retention and disposal of young persons' criminal records

Young persons' criminal records are processed differently than adults' and as such this section only provides general guidelines. Once entries have expired, the charges are generally removed and cannot be accessed by any law enforcement agency.

However, a subject found guilty of a subsequent offence as an adult before the expiration of the retention period is treated as an adult and the retention and disposal periods applicable to an adult take effect.

Summary offence and indictable offence

  • If the young person is found guilty of a summary offence, the record is removed three (3) years after the satisfaction of the sentence (custody and/or probation).
  • If the young person is found guilty of an indictable offence, the record is active for a period of five (5) years after the satisfaction of the sentence (custody and/or probation) and then is transferred to a special repository.
  • If, prior to the expiration of the periods, a conviction for a subsequent summary offence or an indictable offence is entered against a young person, the retention period for all entries will begin anew. Once the retention period for the subsequent offence has expired, the entries are then transferred to a special repository.

Finding of guilt not entered

  • If the young person is acquitted (other than by a verdict of not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder) and the charge is dismissed, withdrawn, or stayed, the record is transferred to a special repository.
  • If the young person receives a reprimand, extra judicial sanctions or is ordered to enter into a recognizance to keep the peace and maintain good behaviour, the information is transferred to a special repository.
  • Restorative justice or extra judicial measures: the information is destroyed upon receipt.

Absolute and conditional discharges

  • If the young person is found guilty, and given an absolute discharge, the record is transferred to a special repository one (1) year from the date of sentence.
  • If found guilty, and given a conditional discharge, the entry is transferred to a special repository three (3) years from the date of sentence.

Law enforcement agencies cannot access young person information once it is removed to a special repository. Information stored in the special repository can only be released by Record Suspension and Purge Services under circumstances outlined in section 128 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

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