File Destruction

Information on getting a File Destruction in Canada

When you are arrested and charged by the police you may still be found not guilty in a court of law. If so the charges could be dismissed, withdrawn or stayed. Alternatively you may a diversion. You could also receive a peace bond.

You could also have been found guilty but not convicted. In a case like this the result is an absolute or conditional discharge.

In cases like these you cannot apply for a pardon through the Parole Board of Canada because you must have been convicted to apply for a pardon. Instead you will need to perform a purge and file destruction.

The file destruction refers to the records that are retained by the arresting police force. Most likely when you were arrested you were taken to the police station and then fingerprinted and photographed. It is therefore important to keep in mind that those records will remain on file regardless of the outcome in court. So even if you are found not guilty a criminal record will still exist. To remove it, you need to request a file destruction from the arresting police.

It is important to be aware that local police agencies are allowed to retain their records if they want to. While RCMP detachments are mandated by federal law, smaller local agencies are able to establish their own regulations regarding document retention. However, even though local police agencies are permitted to retain records most comply with the same regulations that are standard across the regular country. In other words, in the absence of any unusual or suspicious circumstances, most police agencies will perform the file destruction if the request is made.

Below are some examples of confirmation letters following the request for a file destruction:

York Regional Police

File Destruction

Windsor Police Service


Toronto Police Service


Peel Regional Police


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