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

4. Check that your records are sealed

Before you travel, get a background check to find out if your youth records have been sealed or erased.

Getting a background check

Sometimes records aren't erased or sealed as soon as they should be. To find out if your records have been erased or sealed, ask the police for a criminal background check. If your records have been erased or sealed, they should not show up on a criminal background check.

Getting a background check

To get a criminal background check, go to your local police or to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). You might even be able to apply online. Even though a youth record is not a criminal record, police services sometimes call criminal background checks “criminal record checks”. You will have to fill out a form and pay a fee.

Youth records and adult records must always be kept separately. If the police find a youth record during your background check, they must create 2 separate reports:

  • a background check report that shows only the youth records, and
  • a background check report that shows any other records, and doesn't mention the youth records.

If your youth record is erased or sealed, you should get a “clear” background check.

If your youth record should have been erased or sealed, but it's still showing up on your background check, ask the police to erase or seal the record. If the police don't agree, you can get help from a youth justice lawyer.

Ask for a record suppression

If your access period is still open, the background check will show your youth records. But you can ask the police to suppress the record. Suppressing a record means that it is sealed before the end of the access period so that it won't show up on a background check.

It's up to the police to decide whether they will suppress your youth record. They might do this if they think your youth record unfairly impacts your attempts to find a job. A youth justice lawyer may be able to help you with this process.

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