Record suspensions (formerly called pardons), are an opportunity for rehabilitated offenders who have been convicted under an Act of Parliament, and have proven to be of good conduct, to move on with their lives as law-abiding citizens. Between 1970 and 2012 the program granted approximately 410,000 pardons/record suspensions. As of 2012 crime rates were the lowest since the pardon system was introduced in 1970. 96% of pardoned individuals remained pardoned.
In 2012, (i) eligibility wait times were raised from 3 and 5 years for summary and indictable offenses, respectively, to 5 and 10 years, (ii) the terminology for “Pardon” in the Criminal Records Act was changed to “Record Suspension” (which is not recognized internationally), (iii) the cost of application was raised from $150 to $624; and
For those who have taken the steps to rehabilitate back into society, these changes have created a significant barrier in the search for meaningful employment. Most employers and many volunteer positions require a clean background to be considered eligible.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Amend changes made in Sections 4 (1) (a) and (b) of the Criminal Records Act (“the CRA”), which increased the wait times after which offenders are eligible to apply for a pardon from 3 and 5 years for summary and indictable offenses, respectively, to 5 and 10 years;
2. Amend the terminology in Section 4.1 of the CRA, reverting terminology back to “Pardon”, in place of "Record Suspension"; and
3. Revert cost of applications to be more affordable for applicants.
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