Youth Records

  1. What information do the police keep?

    The record the police keep may include any arrests, suspected criminal activity, convictions, fingerprints, photographs, 911 calls, interviews, witness and victim reports. The police will also have a record of your participation in either an extrajudicial measures or extrajudicial sanctions program. The police can check these records at any time.

  2. What information is in my Youth Justice Court record?

    This record includes any reports that have been prepared for the court, the charges that have been laid, and a history of previous convictions and sentences.

  3. Can I see the information in my Youth Justice Court record?

    Yes, you generally have a right to see and receive copies of your court records at any time before or after your case is finished. However, if the judge decides in court that you should not see a medical or psychological report, then you won’t be able to see it.

  4. Can my parent(s) see my Youth Justice Court record?

    Yes, at any time during the course of your case and your sentence, your parent(s) may have access to, and request copies of, your court records, police records or records kept by a government agency.

  5. Who else can see my Youth Justice Court record?

    The police and the court will have your record if you are charged with another offence during the time that your record is kept.

    In some circumstances, information about your record may be given to people in charge of supervising you and for safety purposes. For example school administrators and youth workers might possibly see your record.

    In addition, the following are some of the people who are able to see your records if they make a request:

    • the victim of the offence,
    • your lawyer,
    • police officers for law enforcement purposes,
    • director of a facility where you might be serving a sentence,
    • person participating in a conference or supervising your extrajudicial measures or extrajudicial sanctions,
    • a government-appointed child advocate,
    • a person required to carry out a criminal record check for employment purposes.

    Access to these records is restricted to the timeframes described below.

  6. Can anyone see the records the police keep?

    You and your lawyer can see and have a copy of your police record at any time.

    Your parent(s), the victim(s), the police and the court may, be given access to your record.

    In some circumstances, information about your record may also be given to people in charge of supervising you and for safety purposes. For example school administrators and youth workers might see your record.

    Access may also be given to the people listed above.

    Access to these records is restricted to the timeframes outlined above.

  7. If I’m found guilty, will my Youth Justice Court record ever be destroyed?

    After a specific amount of time your Youth Justice Court record is not to be used for any purpose that would identify you as an offender. The time period depends on the type of offence and the disposition (sentence). Some of these time periods are as follows:

    • If you are acquitted your record is kept for one month, unless an appeal is filed in which case you may have to wait longer.
    • If the charges are dismissed, withdrawn, or a reprimand is given, your record is kept for 2 months.
    • After an absolute discharge, your record is kept for 1 year from the day you were found guilty.
    • After a conditional discharge, your record will be kept for 3 years from the day you were found guilty.
    • For summary offences (less serious offences), your record will remain for 3 years from the end of the sentence.
    • For indictable offences (more serious) your record will be kept for 5 years from the end of your sentence.
    • After the period of time specified, the record cannot be used, but if you commit another offence during that period, then the time will start running again based on the new offence.
    • Records for murder, attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault (involving serious violence) may be kept forever. The RCMP also keeps a Special Repository where records of very serious offences, such as robbery or assault causing bodily harm, may be kept for 5 years longer than noted above.
    • If you get an adult conviction during the open/access period, your youth record will become a part of your adult record and is kept forever.
  8. Is my youth record automatically destroyed when I turn 18?

    No. Contrary to popular belief, your record in youth court is not automatically destroyed at the age of 18.

  9. What happens at the end of the access period for my youth record?

    It means that in law you are no longer regarded as having committed any offence. Your Youth Justice Court record cannot be disclosed to anybody after the time periods outlined above. The records kept by the police in central repository (CPIC) have to be physically destroyed after this time period.

    If you have been found guilty of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault or a serious violent offence your police record could be kept indefinitely in a special record repository.

    The “destruction” of these records is automatic and you do not have to take steps to have your record destroyed.

    You should make sure that all records relating to you are sealed or destroyed after the time period by first, contacting the RCMP Central Repository to obtain a document certifying that your record is sealed or destroyed, and then do the same with the court and local police.

  10. Can anyone use my Youth Justice Court record against me after the access period is over?

    No. Any record that should have been sealed cannot be used for any purpose. Even if your record is not physically destroyed, no one can disclose the information in your record. If you think your record is being accessed or disclosed illegally, contact a lawyer immediately.

    In some special circumstances access to your records can be given after the time period is over, but these records can still not be used against you.

  11. What if people who have my Youth Justice Court record use them after the access period?

    It is against the law and they may be guilty of an offence. If you think your record has not been sealed or destroyed at the end of the time period, you should ask that it be sealed or destroyed.

  12. If I was given Extrajudicial Measures (EJM), do I have a Youth Justice Court record?

    There will be a record of your participation in the program, but it can only be used by the police to decide if they should give extrajudicial measures to you in the future or to investigate an offence. It cannot be seen by the court, victim(s) of the offence or others listed above.

  13. If I was given Extrajudicial Sanctions (EJS), do I have a Youth Justice Court record?

    The fact that you participated in an extrajudicial sanctions program can be accessed by the people supervising you, the victim(s) and the same people listed above. If you are given extrajudicial sanctions, the record of your participation in the program is not available after 2 years.

  14. What is the effect of completing my sentence or of an absolute discharge?

    Once you have completed your sentence, for example, your 6 months of probation are over, then you are to be dealt with as though you had never committed an offence (e.g. when looking for a job). However, certain people will still be able to see your record within the times outlined above and a court can consider a finding of guilt in deciding future sentences.

  15. On a job application, how should I answer the question “Do you have a criminal record?” or “Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence?”

    If you only have a youth record, you can honestly answer “No” to these questions. You may have a Youth Justice Court record (Youth Record) but you do not have an adult “criminal record” unless you are charged and “convicted” for something you did after you turn 18.

  16. What if a potential employer asks for a police record check?

    Employers may also ask for your consent to do a background check during your application process. The depth of the record check will depend upon the type of job that you are applying for, and each police service has a different procedure for disclosing records they have. Although it is illegal for an employer to ask about your youth record, the police may disclose information to you with your consent. It is then up to you whether you want to give it to a potential employer. Unfortunately, the decision you make may affect your chances of getting the job.

    JFCY believes that this disclosure is contrary to the rules in the Youth Criminal Justice Act. People might assume that you are voluntarily giving consent to access and subsequently disclose your record, when in fact, to be considered for gainful employment, you do not have a choice but to consent.

    If you are having problems with or are concerned about records disclosed on a police records search that you requested, contact JFCY for help.

  17. What happens to my fingerprints, photographs, and information about me if I am found not guilty?

    The police can keep reports relating to the incident. Your fingerprints and photographs, along with other information such as records of conviction and findings of guilt, will be kept in the RCMP Central Repository. Only the conviction and findings of guilty records are destroyed or sealed after a certain crime free period has passed. The other records are not destroyed but the information they contain cannot be disclosed after the conviction and/or findings of guilt records are destroyed or sealed. As long as your photographs and fingerprints remain in the police files, they can be used during criminal investigations to identify suspects.

  18. What about DNA records?

    If you are charged with a very serious offence you may be asked to give a DNA sample (for example saliva, hair, blood). You may even be asked to give a DNA sample in certain circumstances if you are charged with a less serious offence.

    If you are asked to give a DNA sample, get legal advice before you consent to giving a DNA sample.

    Your DNA sample may be destroyed after a certain period or it may be kept indefinitely in a National DNA data bank. The following people will have acccess to your DNA record:

    • You,
    • Your lawyer or an other adult assisting you on your case,
    • Your parent(s),
    • The crown attorney,
    • The police for law enforcement purposes of purposes relating to your case, and
    • The court hearing your case.

    The court can also give permission to others for access to your DNA record if they can show they have a valid interest.

    Contact a lawyer if you have concerns about your DNA sample.

  19. Other Records

    You may or may not get permission to look at and receive copies of your records kept by a social agency, a local police force, or the RCMP.

  • Youth Criminal Justice Act

    The YCJA provides unique rights and procedures for young people between the ages of 12 - 17 who are charged with a criminal offence in Canada.

    • Application of the YCJA

      Open
    • The Police

      Open
    • Right to a Lawyer

      Open
    • Detention

      Open
    • EJM & EJS

      Open
    • Court Process

      Open
    • Sentencing Process

      Open
    • Sentences

      Open
    • Youth Records

      Close
      1. What information do the police keep?

        The record the police keep may include any arrests, suspected criminal activity, convictions, fingerprints, photographs, 911 calls, interviews, witness and victim reports. The police will also have a record of your participation in either an extrajudicial measures or extrajudicial sanctions program. The police can check these records at any time.

      2. What information is in my Youth Justice Court record?

        This record includes any reports that have been prepared for the court, the charges that have been laid, and a history of previous convictions and sentences.

      3. Can I see the information in my Youth Justice Court record?

        Yes, you generally have a right to see and receive copies of your court records at any time before or after your case is finished. However, if the judge decides in court that you should not see a medical or psychological report, then you won’t be able to see it.

      4. Can my parent(s) see my Youth Justice Court record?

        Yes, at any time during the course of your case and your sentence, your parent(s) may have access to, and request copies of, your court records, police records or records kept by a government agency.

      5. Who else can see my Youth Justice Court record?

        The police and the court will have your record if you are charged with another offence during the time that your record is kept.

        In some circumstances, information about your record may be given to people in charge of supervising you and for safety purposes. For example school administrators and youth workers might possibly see your record.

        In addition, the following are some of the people who are able to see your records if they make a request:

        • the victim of the offence,
        • your lawyer,
        • police officers for law enforcement purposes,
        • director of a facility where you might be serving a sentence,
        • person participating in a conference or supervising your extrajudicial measures or extrajudicial sanctions,
        • a government-appointed child advocate,
        • a person required to carry out a criminal record check for employment purposes.

        Access to these records is restricted to the timeframes described below.

      6. Can anyone see the records the police keep?

        You and your lawyer can see and have a copy of your police record at any time.

        Your parent(s), the victim(s), the police and the court may, be given access to your record.

        In some circumstances, information about your record may also be given to people in charge of supervising you and for safety purposes. For example school administrators and youth workers might see your record.

        Access may also be given to the people listed above.

        Access to these records is restricted to the timeframes outlined above.

      7. If I’m found guilty, will my Youth Justice Court record ever be destroyed?

        After a specific amount of time your Youth Justice Court record is not to be used for any purpose that would identify you as an offender. The time period depends on the type of offence and the disposition (sentence). Some of these time periods are as follows:

        • If you are acquitted your record is kept for one month, unless an appeal is filed in which case you may have to wait longer.
        • If the charges are dismissed, withdrawn, or a reprimand is given, your record is kept for 2 months.
        • After an absolute discharge, your record is kept for 1 year from the day you were found guilty.
        • After a conditional discharge, your record will be kept for 3 years from the day you were found guilty.
        • For summary offences (less serious offences), your record will remain for 3 years from the end of the sentence.
        • For indictable offences (more serious) your record will be kept for 5 years from the end of your sentence.
        • After the period of time specified, the record cannot be used, but if you commit another offence during that period, then the time will start running again based on the new offence.
        • Records for murder, attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault (involving serious violence) may be kept forever. The RCMP also keeps a Special Repository where records of very serious offences, such as robbery or assault causing bodily harm, may be kept for 5 years longer than noted above.
        • If you get an adult conviction during the open/access period, your youth record will become a part of your adult record and is kept forever.
      8. Is my youth record automatically destroyed when I turn 18?

        No. Contrary to popular belief, your record in youth court is not automatically destroyed at the age of 18.

      9. What happens at the end of the access period for my youth record?

        It means that in law you are no longer regarded as having committed any offence. Your Youth Justice Court record cannot be disclosed to anybody after the time periods outlined above. The records kept by the police in central repository (CPIC) have to be physically destroyed after this time period.

        If you have been found guilty of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault or a serious violent offence your police record could be kept indefinitely in a special record repository.

        The “destruction” of these records is automatic and you do not have to take steps to have your record destroyed.

        You should make sure that all records relating to you are sealed or destroyed after the time period by first, contacting the RCMP Central Repository to obtain a document certifying that your record is sealed or destroyed, and then do the same with the court and local police.

      10. Can anyone use my Youth Justice Court record against me after the access period is over?

        No. Any record that should have been sealed cannot be used for any purpose. Even if your record is not physically destroyed, no one can disclose the information in your record. If you think your record is being accessed or disclosed illegally, contact a lawyer immediately.

        In some special circumstances access to your records can be given after the time period is over, but these records can still not be used against you.

      11. What if people who have my Youth Justice Court record use them after the access period?

        It is against the law and they may be guilty of an offence. If you think your record has not been sealed or destroyed at the end of the time period, you should ask that it be sealed or destroyed.

      12. If I was given Extrajudicial Measures (EJM), do I have a Youth Justice Court record?

        There will be a record of your participation in the program, but it can only be used by the police to decide if they should give extrajudicial measures to you in the future or to investigate an offence. It cannot be seen by the court, victim(s) of the offence or others listed above.

      13. If I was given Extrajudicial Sanctions (EJS), do I have a Youth Justice Court record?

        The fact that you participated in an extrajudicial sanctions program can be accessed by the people supervising you, the victim(s) and the same people listed above. If you are given extrajudicial sanctions, the record of your participation in the program is not available after 2 years.

      14. What is the effect of completing my sentence or of an absolute discharge?

        Once you have completed your sentence, for example, your 6 months of probation are over, then you are to be dealt with as though you had never committed an offence (e.g. when looking for a job). However, certain people will still be able to see your record within the times outlined above and a court can consider a finding of guilt in deciding future sentences.

      15. On a job application, how should I answer the question “Do you have a criminal record?” or “Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence?”

        If you only have a youth record, you can honestly answer “No” to these questions. You may have a Youth Justice Court record (Youth Record) but you do not have an adult “criminal record” unless you are charged and “convicted” for something you did after you turn 18.

      16. What if a potential employer asks for a police record check?

        Employers may also ask for your consent to do a background check during your application process. The depth of the record check will depend upon the type of job that you are applying for, and each police service has a different procedure for disclosing records they have. Although it is illegal for an employer to ask about your youth record, the police may disclose information to you with your consent. It is then up to you whether you want to give it to a potential employer. Unfortunately, the decision you make may affect your chances of getting the job.

        JFCY believes that this disclosure is contrary to the rules in the Youth Criminal Justice Act. People might assume that you are voluntarily giving consent to access and subsequently disclose your record, when in fact, to be considered for gainful employment, you do not have a choice but to consent.

        If you are having problems with or are concerned about records disclosed on a police records search that you requested, contact JFCY for help.

      17. What happens to my fingerprints, photographs, and information about me if I am found not guilty?

        The police can keep reports relating to the incident. Your fingerprints and photographs, along with other information such as records of conviction and findings of guilt, will be kept in the RCMP Central Repository. Only the conviction and findings of guilty records are destroyed or sealed after a certain crime free period has passed. The other records are not destroyed but the information they contain cannot be disclosed after the conviction and/or findings of guilt records are destroyed or sealed. As long as your photographs and fingerprints remain in the police files, they can be used during criminal investigations to identify suspects.

      18. What about DNA records?

        If you are charged with a very serious offence you may be asked to give a DNA sample (for example saliva, hair, blood). You may even be asked to give a DNA sample in certain circumstances if you are charged with a less serious offence.

        If you are asked to give a DNA sample, get legal advice before you consent to giving a DNA sample.

        Your DNA sample may be destroyed after a certain period or it may be kept indefinitely in a National DNA data bank. The following people will have acccess to your DNA record:

        • You,
        • Your lawyer or an other adult assisting you on your case,
        • Your parent(s),
        • The crown attorney,
        • The police for law enforcement purposes of purposes relating to your case, and
        • The court hearing your case.

        The court can also give permission to others for access to your DNA record if they can show they have a valid interest.

        Contact a lawyer if you have concerns about your DNA sample.

      19. Other Records

        You may or may not get permission to look at and receive copies of your records kept by a social agency, a local police force, or the RCMP.

    • Appeals

      Open
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    In Ontario, you can choose where you live when you are 16 years old. The decision to leave is often not easy and can lead to difficulties in getting all your belongings, having enough money to support yourself and attending school.

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    You can be given a ticket for breaking a provincial law if you are over the age of 16. Some of the common laws that young people are given tickets for is covered in this section.

  • Homeless Youth Over 18

    Street Youth Legal Services (SYLS) is a program that provides information and services for homeless youth between the ages of 16 - 25.  These are some of the common issues that the SYLS lawyer is asked about.