You may have a criminal record with a discharge if it happened less than three years ago. A conditional discharge is not a conviction, but it is evidence of guilt. As a matter of law, it will appear on your criminal record for three years. An absolute discharge will remain on your record for one year. If you do not comply with the conditions of a discharge, it can be revoked and replaced with a conviction.

A conditional discharge does appear on criminal record checks, including pre-employment screening, during the one- or three-year period before it is purged from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. It can appear if you travel outside the country, even though the discharge is not the same as a conviction.

You do not have to ask for your discharge to disappear from your criminal record. That should happen automatically once the one-year or three-year period, calculated from the date of sentence, is complete. However, discharges that were registered before July 24, 1992, are removed only upon request to the RCMP.

If you are not sure if an old discharge is still on your criminal record, you should take steps to verify its removal. There are services to help you make sure your record is clean and you do not face barriers to employment or travel because of an old mistake.