The government pardon review process is still underway. The Parole Board of Canada website states they will release feedback in Winter 2017.
Background on government pardon review
The Liberal government promised change for people with records. They want to make Record Suspension applications easier. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the system is creating barriers. He wants people to be able to apply for jobs and contribute to society.
In the past pardons in Canada were free. Then the government slapped on a $150 price tag.
Today, pardons are $631. Many unemployed and struggling people can’t afford it.
The government pardon review is considering reduced fees for minor records. People with serious records would pay more. They could also separate fees into screening and processing stages. Or, they could return your fee if you aren’t eligible.
The Waiting Period
The government may also change the waiting period. How long you wait depends on the offence. Previously, people waited three years or five years.
In 2012, the government extended the waiting period. Now people wait five years for summary offences and 10 years for indictable. This impacts society. Employers conduct background checks. They reject many competent and hardworking people due to records. This can result in recidivism. Sometimes, people just give up on bettering themselves.
The previous government renamed pardons as Record Suspensions. This is because the record won’t go away. Instead, they seal it. If you commit another offence, they unseal it. However, few people lose their pardon this way (on average 3%). Government should acknowledge growth and change by pardoning citizens.
Some offences are not ineligible for pardons. An example is more than three offences with sentences of more than two years each. The current government may not be planning to change this. They haven’t mentioned it. However, they have made general statements about rehabilitation.
In 2016, the government held two consultation periods. They encouraged Canadians to share their views through survey and written submissions.
The government says the feedback will be summarized and released in winter 2017. This will determine the reforms.
If you need a pardon, it could be years before laws are changed. The government still needs to write legislation. Then, they will need to get it passed through Parliament. A new election could stop it in its tracks. Once passed, the new rules may not benefit you.
The best thing to do is to start when you are eligible. Don’t lose out on opportunity. Contact us when you are ready to get started at 1-866-972-7366.