The Young Offenders Act provides specific rules about the records related to federal offences. These rules say who keeps the records, where they are kept, who can see them and when they are to be destroyed. These rules apply to police department records (including fingerprints and photographs), Youth Court records, government and private records.
Under Section 41 of the Young Offenders Act, the RCMP are obligated to keep a "Central Repository" record for all cases involving indictable (serious) offences. These records contain fingerprints and/or photographs and indicate the type of offence committed. Local police departments put cases into this Central Repository. In this section, we will refer to these records as "Central Repository records."
Other police records, court records, and records kept by government departments and organizations can also be kept. These records are to be made available to the young person, counsel to the young person, the prosecution, a parent or adult assisting the young person, the victim of the offence and other select individuals.
The Central Repository records kept by the RCMP for identifying criminals are to be destroyed and any other records are not to be disclosed (they are sealed) after the following time periods and conditions have been met:
The above time periods no longer apply if the young person is convicted of a subsequent offence prior to the destruction or sealing of his/her record. The record will then be subject to one of 3 provisions about keeping records:
If a youth does not re-offend and his/her records are sealed and destroyed, the young person is considered to "not have committed" the offence for which he/she was charged. Anyone who discloses the record of the young person is guilty of an offence. However, a Youth Court judge can order disclosure of records in special circumstances (for example, to assist in the investigation of an offence).
The Young Offenders Act does not allow a youth's name to be given to the public. However, there are certain exceptions to this.
The identity of a young offender may be disclosed by a court order under the following circumstances: