What We Do
Record Suspension Support Program
Peacebuilders’ Record Suspension Support Program (RSSP), funded in part by the Government of Canada, offers 1 on 1 confidential support to help individuals (ages 18 to 25) through the process of getting a record suspension in Canada.
Formerly known as a pardon, a record suspension will keep your criminal record separate and apart from other criminal records. This means that when a criminal record check is completed through the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), neither your criminal record nor your record suspension will show up.
Through RSSP, Peacebuilders works with individuals to:
- assess their eligibility;
- gather the required information and documentation;
- guide them through the application process; and
- connect them to important resources and supports including organizations who can help with employment, education, mental health support, housing and food security.
For more information, please contact Peacebuilders’ Record Suspension Support staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or (437) 217-2328.
RSSP aims to break down barriers and reduce the stigma around having a criminal record and getting a record suspension. To learn more, please see the following resources provided by the Parole Board of Canada:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a record suspension?
Formerly known as a pardon, a record suspension will keep your criminal record separate and apart from other criminal records. This means your record (or your record suspension) will not show up on a criminal record check.
While a record suspension will not erase your conviction, it sets it aside and can help open up employment and educational opportunities.
Who is a record suspension for?
A record suspension is for people who have been convicted of a federal offence as an adult. To be eligible, you must have completed all your sentences and have been a law-abiding citizen for a designated amount of time.
You do not need to apply for a record suspension if you were only found guilty in a youth court or youth justice court (*unless you were convicted as an adult) or if you received an absolute or conditional discharge only.
Will my record be suspended everywhere?
A record suspension only applies to federal organizations such as the RCMP. However, provincial and municipal agencies may restrict access to their records once notified that a record suspension has been granted.
Your record may also still be accessible to Border officials in other countries.
What are the limits of a record suspension?
- A record suspension does not erase a conviction but sets it aside.
- If you receive a record suspension for a sexual offence, your name will still be flagged in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database for the purposes of a Vulnerable Sector Check (VSC) or Vulnerable Sector Screening (VSS). A VSC or VSS will identify that you were convicted of a sexual offence and that a record suspension was ordered. Your name may also remain on the sex offender registry.
- A record suspension does not cancel driving or weapons prohibition orders. These orders may remain in place even after you receive a record suspension.
- A record suspension does not guarantee entry or visa privileges to another country. If you are travelling, you should contact the authorities of the country you wish to visit to find out what you need to enter that country.
- The Minister of Public Safety can order that your record be disclosed, regardless of whether you’ve been granted a record suspension, if it is consistent with the administration of justice (such as for a court case), related to the safety and security of Canada, or for Vulnerable Sector Checks.
What are the benefits of a record suspension?
- Removes the stigma attached to a criminal record for people who have been convicted of a federal offence as an adult;
- Is evidence that the suspended conviction(s) should no longer reflect negatively on the individual’s character;
- Supports successful reintegration by reducing barriers to education, employment, housing, and more!
How much does a record suspension cost?
Although Peacebuilders does not charge a fee for our services, there are fees associated with applying for a record suspension. You will be responsible for paying an application fee ($50.00), fingerprinting and criminal record fees ($70-$90+), and the local police record processing fee ($45.00 for Toronto Police Service). Applicants applying for a cannabis record suspension do not have to pay an application fee.
If your application is unsuccessful, the Parole Board of Canada will return your $50 application fee.
Peacebuilders may be able to assist with some fees on a case-by-case basis.
How long does it take to process a record suspension application?
It can take 6 to 12 months to gather all the required documentation needed to submit a record suspension application. This is because you will need to get your fingerprints done, request and wait for criminal records, and track down court information. Applications the Parole Board is proposing to refuse will be processed within 24 months
How long will a record suspension take once the application has been submitted?
Once your application is accepted, the following timelines will apply:
- Applications seeking a record suspension for a summary offence(s) will be processed within 6 months
- Applications seeking a record suspension for an indictable offence(s) will be processed within 12 months
- Applications the Board is proposing to refuse will be processed within 24 months
What happens if a record suspension application is denied? Is it possible to reapply?
If your application for a record suspension is denied, you must wait one year from the day the final decision was made to reapply. If you decide to reapply, you will need to complete a new application form and obtain an updated local police record check.
- NOTE: Criminal record(s) and Court Information form(s) never expire, so be sure to get an extra copy of these forms and keep them in your records!
Why might a record suspension be revoked after being approved?
A record suspension can be revoked by the Parole Board of Canada if:
- You receive a new conviction;
- There is evidence that you are no longer of good conduct; and/ or
- The Parole Board learns that your original record suspension application included misleading, false, or incomplete information.
Do I need a record suspension to obtain a passport?
No, you do not need a record suspension to obtain a passport.
Will I be able to travel anywhere once I get a record suspension?
A record suspension does not guarantee entry or visa privileges to another country. Before you travel, it is a good idea to contact the authorities of the country you wish to visit to find out what you need to do to enter that country.
It is helpful to bring a copy of your record suspension with you while travelling.
What if my only conviction is for simple possession of cannabis?
If you were convicted in Canada of simple possession of cannabis as an adult, you may be eligible to apply for a record suspension under the streamlined cannabis record suspension application process. Only individuals who have convictions for simple possession of cannabis are eligible to apply for a record suspension under this process. If you have other convictions in addition to your simple possession conviction, you must apply via the regular process.