Fact Sheet: Changes to pardon wait times unconstitutional2018-10-01T21:47:49+00:00

Fact Sheet: Changes to pardon wait times unconstitutional

Background

March 2012 – The Government of Canada changed the laws to increase the waiting times. The law was made retroactive, affecting those who had already been convicted.

Record Suspension – The government changed the name pardon to Record Suspension, which highlights the fact that the record could come back should the person reoffend. It also removes the concept of “forgiveness” from the system.

10 years – The amount of time someone with an indictable conviction must wait to receive a pardon (Record Suspension)

5 years – The amount of time someone with a summary conviction must wait to receive a pardon

96% – The number of granted pardons that have not been revoked

$150 – The cost of applying for a Record Suspension prior to 2012

$631 – The current cost of applying for a Record Suspension

Parole Board of Canada – The government body responsible for issuing pardons. The Parole Board launched two public consultations on pardon laws in 2016, but has not released a report on the findings.

What happened?

22,500 people were caught in a backlog when the laws were changed because the Parole Board of Canada needed to meet the statutory requirements of processing the new Record Suspension applications first.

Who is involved?

Michael Charron – Ontario resident who challenged the law jointly with Joseph Rajab

Joseph Rajab – Ontario resident who challenged the law jointly with Charron

Michael Spratt – Charron’s lawyer. Spratt also made news by trying to “crowdfund” the case. However, he only raised a thousand dollars this way before Legal Aid Ontario stepped in with some more cash.

Ricky Martin Chu – BC resident who challenged the law

Eric Gottardi – Chu’s lawyer

Justice Heather MacNaughtonBC Supreme Court Justice

Justice Robyn Ryan BellOntario Superior Court Justice

Anthony DoobUniversity of Toronto criminology professor who testified at the Ontario hearing

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale – Plans to overhaul some of the changes the previous government made to the pardon system, including the name change.

The law

Bill C-10 – The bill, called “The Safe Streets and Communities Act”, the previous government passed to amend the pardon rules

Criminal Records Act – The law which governs Record Suspensions (pardons). This is the law that the previous government amended.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Part of the Canadian Constitution, the Charter is interpreted to mean that an offender cannot be punished twice for the same crime.

Court Challenges Program – The Liberal government has brought back the Court Challenges Program, which means future challenges on the constitutionality of these laws may be qualified to receive funding.

Other Resources

Canadian Bar Association

John Howard Society

Contact

AllCleared has instrumental in raising awareness of the changes to pardon laws and the affect on ordinary Canadians. Contact us for background or opinions on this issue at 1-866-972-7366.