- Summary offences: 5 years
- Indictable offences: 10 years
For court appearances which did not result in a conviction there are certain waiting periods that must be met before the files can be destroyed.
- Absolute Discharge: 1 year
- Conditional Discharge: 3 years
For not guilty outcomes varying time frames exist before the records can be destroyed.
- Not Guilty Outcomes: normally within 1 year
Keep in mind that it is advisable to begin your pardon application or your purge and file destruction at least 1 year in advance of becoming eligible if you want your criminal record to be sealed as soon as possible.The 5 and 10 year criteria for pardon eligibility is a result of the Conservative government of Canada’s tough on crime legislation (Bill C-10) which significantly increased the waiting periods for eligibility.
Pardon Eligibility – History
Before the passage of bill C-10 eligibility for a pardon was as follows:
- Summary Offences: 3 years
- Indictable Offences: 5 years
However, prior to the passage of Bill C-10, another piece of legislation was passed in the House of Commons. Bill C-23 A maintained the previous eligibility waiting periods for summary and indictable offences at 3 and 5 years but increased the waiting period for sexual and serious personal injury offences to 10 years.
Further Reading on Pardon Eligibility:Bill C-10 (Bill C-23B becomes Law)Bill C-23 A