The federal government is currently reviewing the Record Suspension system to make it more accessible to the average Canadian. While the Record Suspension review is still underway, one major point that came through from the consultation was that most people felt the $631 fee was too much.

Although the final consultation report hasn’t been released, some preliminary briefing notes and submissions were provided to the Canadian Press in response to a Freedom of Information application.


In its Record Suspension review, the government heard from many types of organizations:

Individuals: Many individuals wrote to the Parole Board and explained that they were struggling to find employment and could not afford the fee. Citizens explained that they were just trying to get back on track and support their families.

Private companies: AllCleared (formerly Pardon Services Canada) made submissions explaining that the fee was a burden to our clients and made it harder for them to reintegrate.

Organizations: Stakeholders such as the Canadian Bar Association made submissions encouraging the Parole Board to make pardons more accessible.

Record Suspension review of fee

There is no doubt that the $631 fee affects people who need the Record Suspension the most. Many people struggle with employment due to having a criminal record. Reasons for this include:

The number of companies providing background checks: This has increased due to the ease of electronic information. They market their services to companies of all sizes. They attempt to persuade companies to sign up by warning them of worse case scenarios.

Increases in background checks for entry-level jobs: Receptionist, data clerk, telemarketer, teller, security guard, cashier, warehouse worker. All of these jobs require access to personal information, cash, or property, which can exclude people with records. Many of these businesses will require their employees to be bondable for insurance reasons.

Risk aversion: In the past, a corporate snafu may have resulted in a story on page 10 of the business section. Today, there is much more public scrutiny due to the Internet. Companies are much more reticent to take risks and give people a second chance. This is changing in the US where there is currently a low unemployment rate and one in three Americans has a criminal record, but in Canada it is still a major issue.

Consultation report

The information released to the Canadian Press was only a summary of submissions made to the Record Suspension review. We don’t know if these submissions will encourage the government to lower the fee.

In their initial consultation survey, it appeared that the government was considering a tiered system. You could pay a higher fee if you had serious charges and a lower one if you had minor charges.

The government stated it would release its report late this year.

Changes to the government fee, will still take some time to process. If you need a pardon, we don’t recommend waiting for action as this legislation is still far in the future. We encourage you to get started on your application as soon as you are eligible. Don’t wait to put the past behind you. If you are ready to get started, contact us today to discuss your situation at 1-866-972-7366.