What is a purge and file destruction?
When you are arrested in Canada you always end up with a criminal record but in truth not all criminal records are created equal. A little confusion arises for people who are granted a conditional or absolute discharge from the court, as well as several other cot guilty outcomes.
A discharge is about half way to being found guilty although that is far from a perfect explanation. If you received a discharge it means that the court found you guilty but did not convict you, which sounds like nothing more than legal mumbo jumbo except that the verdict does affect how your criminal record is retained and dealt with.
The nice thing about a discharge is that it will be removed from CPIC automatically (CPIC stands for Canadian Police Information Centre and is essentially the RCMP federal database of criminal records) provided you received that verdict after 1992. If you received a discharge prior to 1992 you need to make an application to have the record removed. And the way you make the application is through a purge and file destruction. This is similar to a Canadian pardon but the paperwork is a little different.
What you want to be careful about is that even if you received a discharge after 1992 you should still process a purge and file destruction. You need to do this for many reasons. One is that you cannot always count on the police to remove your record, so it is worth making sure it gets done. The other is that the record is only removed from CPIC. Any local police and court documents, etc. will remain on file unless you apply to have them destroyed.
The bottom line is that if you have been arrested take the responsibility upon yourself and make sure you have all the records destroyed, purge or pardoned. Just make sure it gets done. Of course, if you are planning to remain criminally active don’t bother. But if you plan on putting mistakes like that behind you it is definitely something worth doing.