Will a youth record affect me if I want to travel outside Canada?

3. Find out if your youth record is still open

Your youth records will not be sealed or erased just because you turn 18.

The length of time your youth record is open is called the “access period”. The access period for your youth records depends on:

  • the type of record
  • the type of crime
  • the outcome of your case

Access periods

Case outcome

Access period

Charges

2 months from the date the is withdrawn

Not guilty – no appeal

2 months after the deadline for appeal has passed

Not guilty – appeal

3 months after the appeal is completed

Reprimand

2 months from the day you were found guilty

Peace bond

6 months from the end of the

Charges

1 year from the day your charges were stayed

Absolute discharge

1 year from the day you were found guilty

Extrajudicial sanctions (EJS)

2 years from when you agreed to EJS

Conditional discharge

3 years from the day you were found guilty

Guilty –

3 years from the end of your

Guilty –

5 years from the end of your sentence

 

Your access period may increase if you're found guilty of another as a young person. If this happens, your access period could stay the same, or be extended by 3 or 5 years.

Erasing or sealing records

At the end of the access period, youth records kept by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) must be erased. This includes any records that show you were found guilty of a crime.

All other youth records, such as court records or police notes, must be erased or sealed. When a record is sealed, it's closed forever. It can only be accessed by you or your lawyer. No one else can see the record unless they get a special order from a judge that says it's okay.

Photos, fingerprints, and DNA records

Records about your photos, fingerprints, or DNA may be open for longer than your other records. This depends on if you were charged with an indictable offence or summary offence.

An indictable offence is a more serious offence. A summary offence is a less serious offence. If you don't know whether you were charged with an indictable offence or a summary offence, ask your lawyer or the court that handled your case.

If you were charged with an indictable offence, the RCMP can keep your fingerprints and photos for an extra 5 years after the access period is closed. There is no extra time for summary offences.

If you are found guilty of a serious violent offence, in very rare cases the judge could decide to give you an adult sentence. If this happens, the RCMP can keep your fingerprints, photos, and DNA records forever. Examples of serious violent offences include murder, manslaughter, and aggravated sexual assault.

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