Managing your criminal record

Managing your adult criminal record

Below you will find information on options available to you if have an adult criminal record.

How to request a record suspension (formerly known as a pardon)

The Parole Board of Canada manages all record suspensions including record suspensions for cannabis convictions. You should direct all inquiries about record suspension applications to the Parole Board. You do not need to apply for a record suspension if:

  • the charges against you were dismissed, stayed or withdrawn
  • you weren't convicted

Cannabis convictions

If you were convicted of simple possession of cannabis, you may be eligible for a cannabis record suspension.

To confirm if you have a conviction for simple possession of cannabis in the National Repository of Criminal Records, you can request a Certified Criminal Record Check. State that the reason is for an "Application to obtain an RCMP Certified Criminal Record to apply for a record suspension".

Your criminal record may not specify the substance you were convicted of possessing. You may need to prove that the conviction was for simple possession of cannabis. To do this, contact the police agency or RCMP detachment that laid the original charge. They may have this information in their records.

Absolute and conditional discharges

If you're found guilty of a crime, you may receive an absolute or conditional discharge instead of being convicted. We seal these records based on the schedule set out in the Criminal Records Act.

If you received an absolute discharge:

  • On or after July 24, 1992: We seal your absolute discharge record automatically one year after the date you are sentenced
  • Before July 24, 1992: You can send a written request to seal the record

If you received a conditional discharge:

  • On or after July 24, 1992: We seal your conditional discharge record three years after the date you are sentenced
  • Before July 24, 1992: You can send a written request to seal the record

Requesting to seal discharges received before July 24, 1992

If an absolute or conditional discharge received before July 24, 1992, still appears on your record, you may request the sealing of your record for free. Print off and complete the Requesting to Seal Absolute and/or Conditional Discharge form and send it to:

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Legislative Conformity
Box 8885
Ottawa, Ontario
K1G 3M8

Your request must contain the following information:

  • Your full name (including your maiden name or any aliases)
  • Your date of birth
  • A complete return mailing address
  • Your phone number (include area code)
  • Relevant details about your offence(s), including:
    • charges laid
    • sentence received
    • date of sentence (also known as the date of disposition)

Non-conviction information

Your file in the National Repository of Criminal Records may include conviction and/or non-conviction records.

Non-conviction refers to police charging you with a crime, but you weren't convicted. This includes withdrawn or dismissed charges, and stays of proceedings.

You may request the destruction of non-conviction information.

Requesting the destruction of non-conviction information

To request the destruction of non-conviction information you need to apply to the police service or RCMP detachment that laid the original charge. If they approve your request, they will contact us to request the destruction of the information.

Denial of request to destroy non-conviction information

We may refuse to destroy the non-conviction information if one or more of the following conditions apply:

  • Your record indicates an immediate public safety threat
  • You have a criminal conviction on file for which you have not received a record suspension

To appeal this decision, you can send a letter to:


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

When appealing the decision:

  • Note any errors you believe we made in our decision to deny your request
  • Provide any information you did not include in the original request
  • Include supporting documentation, such as:
    • copies of applicable Crown proceedings
    • police records
    • court documents

Managing your youth criminal record

The rules for the retention of youth records are complex, and the information contained here is very general. You can find most of the rules relating to the retention, use and disclosure of youth criminal records in Part 6 (sections 110 to 119) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Law enforcement agencies can't access a young person's record once it's sealed. The RCMP can only disclose sealed information under certain circumstances outlined in the act.

The act allows the retention of youth information upon adult conviction. Please see the act for specific circumstances where this applies.

Summary and indictable offences

As a youth, if you are found guilty of:

  • a summary offence: We destroy your record three years after you complete your sentence
  • an indictable offence: We seal your record five years after you complete your sentence

As per the Youth Criminal Justice Act, we may extend the date for destroying or sealing your record may be extended if you are found guilty of a new offence. Once the retention period for all offences expires, we'll destroy or seal your record.

If you're convicted as an adult before your youth offence retention period is over, your youth information will remain on your record.

Non-conviction information

Following the retention period in the Youth Criminal Justice Act , we'll destroy information about your criminal charge and court disposition if:

  • you're acquitted (other than by a verdict of not criminally responsible)
  • the charge is dismissed, withdrawn, or stayed
  • you're ordered to enter into a recognizance to keep the peace and maintain good behaviour

Absolute and conditional discharges

Youths can receive absolute and conditional discharges. We destroy these records under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

If you're found guilty and receive:

  • an absolute discharge: We destroy the record one year from the sentence date
  • a conditional discharge: We destroy the record three years from the sentence date
Find out more about youth criminal records.

Sharing criminal record information

We maintain the National Repository of Criminal Records, which contains personal and fingerprint information.

Our commitment to privacy

We keep and disclose information in the national repository according to federal legislation. Find out more about the contents and uses of the repository.

Please see the Privacy Impact Assessment for Real Time IDentification (RTID) for more information.

Access to criminal record information

The Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) system provides authorized users with access to criminal record information from the national repository , including:

  • individual biographical information
  • criminal charges
  • court decisions

We share this information with foreign authorities who may save this information.

Travelling with a criminal record or record suspension

The United States and Canada have an information-sharing agreement that gives each country access to the other's criminal record and public safety information. U.S. law enforcement and border agencies have limited access to active records in the repository via CPIC.

If you currently have an active criminal record or have been granted a record suspension and wish to travel to the US or any other country, we recommend that you contact the specific point of entry of that country for more information on their entry and exit requirements.

Other countries, including the U.S., may not recognize a record suspension issued in Canada. You may need to provide a copy of your suspended criminal record to see if you can enter the country. We have no control over this, since each country decides their entry and exit requirements.

If the U.S. accessed your active criminal record before you received a record suspension, they may have documented this. They may ask questions about your convictions. It is at your discretion to decide how you want to answer these questions.

Date modified: