Area of Law: Criminal Records
Answer # 2109
Are criminal records removed automatically?Region: Ontario Answer # 2109
Criminal records are only removed automatically in limited cases, and even then, not completely. Apart from the following two limited exceptions, the criminal record will not be removed automatically and the individual must take steps to have it removed (refer to How to remove a criminal record).
The only two exceptions are:
Youth Criminal Records. Generally, youth criminal records are purged from the RCMP’s Identification data bank when the non-disclosure date has been reached. However, the individual should take steps to ensure that records have in fact been removed from both the charging police files and the RCMP data bank.
In some cases, where the youth record has been ‘locked in’ to their adult record, because the individual becomes an adult and re-offends before the nondisclosure date for the youth charge has been reached, it is not automatically removed and the individual will have to apply for a Pardon or Record Suspension to remove it. Finally, if the youth record was created prior to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, 2002, the greater the chance that the record may have been recorded as an adult record or that the youth record was created under one of the prior laws that did not provide non-disclosure dates. The result in these 3 situations is the same: the youth record may not have been removed, and the individual should double check to make sure it is gone.
Absolute and Conditional Discharges registered after July 24, 1992. After 1 year (for absolute discharges) or 3 years (for conditional discharges) have passed from the final court date, these records are supposed to be purged from the RCMP Identification data bank. In almost every case, this is done. It is prudent, however, to double check. The file may contain an error showing a conviction or a ‘not guilty’ result, in which case it will not fall within the parameters of this removal process and the individual will have to apply to have the record removed.
Absolute and conditional discharges prior to 1992 are sometimes included in this automatic removal process, and the RCMP do readily remove those files when it is brought to their attention.
Although this purge process is federal law and governs the RCMP, it does not in any way have authority over the remaining police services and the courts throughout Canada. This means that absolute and conditional discharge records will be retained according to the varying retention schedules and policies of each police service and court.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, refer to our criminal law section.
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