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How do I get my fingerprint records destroyed?

Question
How do I get my fingerprint records destroyed?

Glossary

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Reviewed: 
December, 2016
Answer

The police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) keep your fingerprint records and photos unless you ask if they can be destroyed. After a certain amount of time, you can apply to have your fingerprint records destroyed.

Who has access to your records

Your fingerprint records and photos are kept in the local police database. They are also shared with other agencies including:

  • RCMP
  • United States customs
  • Canadian customs
  • United Kingdom (UK) customs
  • Interpol
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • All police forces in Canada

Impact on travel and other activities

If the police have your fingerprint records and photos on file, it may be more difficult for you to travel or immigrate. These records may also impact how the police treat you.

Only people who have been involved with the police have fingerprint records. Border guards, police officers, and others may behave differently if they have fingerprint records for you. Border guards may take longer to let you through borders. Police may spend more time with you if they ask you to pull over when you're driving.

Impact on vulnerable sector checks

The police may be more likely to include a withdrawn charge that didn’t lead to a conviction in a vulnerable sector check if they have your fingerprints and photos on file. The police are less likely to include withdrawn charges if you’ve had your fingerprints and photos destroyed.

Long-term impact

Even after your fingerprints and photos have been destroyed, there will be ways that law enforcement staff can discover that you were once fingerprinted. When you're charged and fingerprinted, you're assigned a Fingerprint Section (FPS) number. This number is stored by the RCMP for a long time. Agencies like US customs will know that you were charged in the past if they see an FPS number when they search your records.

Learn more about this topic
Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA)

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