Most people know that a Record Suspension (previously known as a Pardon) can clear a criminal record, but who is it that actually keeps these records? Is it the RCMP? Local police detachments? Some other government agency?
In reality there are several different databases that can hold information about criminal offences, but the most important one is CPIC. Short for the Canadian Police Information Center, CPIC is a Canada-wide, federal database that keeps track of the records of all Canadians at the national level. This database is managed by the RCMP, which of course is in turn controlled by the Canadian federal government. The records on CPIC can be searched by name and date of birth, as well as by an individual’s fingerprints. Potential employers, volunteer agencies, or other similar organizations conduct criminal record checks based on this database. This is also the database that is cleared by a Record Suspension/Pardon application upon being granted by the Parole Board of Canada.
As the name implies, the Parole Board of Canada operates at the national level and is the government agency responsible for processing record suspension and pardon applications across the country. The Parole Board of Canada has several different offices across Canada including British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario. Despite this, they do act as one government-controlled federal institution, and there is no difference as to their requirements from one province to another.
Are There Provincial Criminal Records and/or Record Suspensions?
While a Canadian’s official criminal record is kept solely at the national level, some provinces do have their own internal databases of criminal records and activity. British Columbia has PRIME-BC, which keeps a record of all police contact in British Columbia involving the RCMP, and city police such as the Vancouver Police Department. The Ontario Provincial Police also share much of their information between police detachments in order to help monitor criminal activity province-wide. Additionally, some private companies offer database sharing technology to several different police detachments in Canada. These databases are not cleared with a Record Suspension, but be assured that the specifics of these databases cannot be released to employers, landlords, or other members of the general public.
Is Pardon Services Canada a National Organization?
Pardon Services Canada is a privately owned company and does not have any affiliation with the Canadian government at any level. As a result, we are not restricted by any sort of jurisdictional issues and are able to process Record Suspension applications for clients nation-wide. In fact, several of our clients do not even live in Canada anymore!
If you wish to know more about how your record is kept, or more importantly how it can be removed, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Alternatively, feel free to contact our offices with any questions you might have.