When trying to enter Canada with a prior conviction under Canadian law, individuals can pursue a Canadian Record Suspension to facilitate their entry into the country. This also applies to individuals who were initially convicted abroad but may have been transferred to Canada through Canada’s Transfer of Offenders Act.
We have a short video you can view which provides an overview of your options to enter Canada with a criminal record.
While certain offenders, including anyone convicted of a sex offense against a child, or persons who have been convicted of more than 3 Canadian indictable offenses, will be ineligible for a record suspension, this option is available to almost everyone who has been convicted of a crime in Canada.
A successful record suspension application, processed by the Parole Board of Canada, will allow for the Canadian conviction in question to be “set aside,” which would allow for entry into Canada despite the criminal record. Unlike an expungement or a pardon, a Canadian record suspension merely sets aside the conviction. This means that the conviction is not removed from the criminal record, but it is separated from any other convictions on your record. When a record suspension is granted, despite the conviction remaining on the criminal record, it is removed from the Canadian police database and the conviction is no longer considered grounds for inadmissibility for immigration to or into entry into Canada!
As with Canada’s other measures that allow for entry into Canada, a waiting period after the crime was committed must have passed before a record suspension can be granted. The waiting period for a record suspension depends on the category into which the conviction falls. To determine in what category your conviction falls, read through our discussion on “Crimes that will make you inadmissible to Canada”.
|Summary Offense||In order to be eligible for a record suspension, five years must have passed since the completion of the sentence before a person can apply for a record suspension.|
|Hybrid Offense||Hybrid offenses are treated like indictable offenses for the purposes of Canadian immigration, so the rules for indictable offenses would apply.|
|Indictable Offense||To be eligible for a Canadian record suspension after an indictable offense, a total of ten years must have passed before a person becomes eligible for a record suspension.|
Like most other inadmissibility solutions, there is a fee associated with applying for a record suspension. The Parole Board of Canada, the body which regulates record suspensions, increased the fee for this application from $150 to $631 in 2012.
It is important to note that in cases where a person has criminal convictions from both Canada and the United States or another country abroad on their record, pursuing both a TRP or a Criminal Rehabilitation application (or both) at the same time as pursuing a Canadian Record Suspension will be necessary.