Thinking of applying for a Canadian Pardon?
Take a look at the history of the Canadian penal system, and you’ll find that only a few hundred years ago, our ancestors were using hot iron branding to permanently mark the bodies of criminals who’d been convicted of an offense. Back then, if a criminal had stolen something, their skin would be branded with a ‘T’ for thief; if they’d committed a felony, they’d be marked with an ‘F’; and, if they’d killed another person, they’d be branded with an ‘M’ for murder.
Today, the Canadian penal system no longer uses such brutal practices. And instead, those convicted of a crime are given a criminal record to carry, which is stored securely by the Canadian Police Information Center, or CPIC. But just because a criminal record isn’t quite as barbaric as a hot iron branding, living with one can be just as life-altering. And, just like a branding, a criminal record is with a person for the rest of their life.
Fortunately, a Canadian Pardon, also known as a Record Suspension, can be used to help seal a criminal record from public visibility forever, giving Canadians & residents a second chance at living a life free of stigma and crime. However, new changes to legislation are continually being made, which can make the application difficult to navigate.
Below, we’ll review a few of the most recent changes to the application process for those applying for a Canadian Pardon.
No More Ink & Roll Fingerprints
According to the Government of Canada’s website, physical fingerprint forms using the old-style “ink & roll” fingerprints are no longer being accepted with an individual’s Record Suspension application. Applicants must now submit their fingerprints electronically to the RCMP. Electronic fingerprints can be obtained by contacting local law enforcement offices, or by having a private facility digitize and submit them directly to the RCMP.
Changes to Eligibility Criteria and Wait Times
As of June 2020, a decision made by the Federal Court resulted in multiple changes to an applicant’s eligibility and waiting times for processing. Along with this decision, “changes made to the Criminal Records Act in 2010 and 2012 are no longer being applied retroactively for applicants who committed their most recent offence prior to the coming into force of these changes.”
In other words, individuals applying for a Canadian Pardon are now being processed according to the eligibility criteria that was initially in place when the applicant first committed his or her most recent offence. Click here to see how eligibility and wait times have changed.
Government of Canada Filing Fee Change
As of March 30, 2020, the Parole Board of Canada increased the Pardon processing fee to $644.88 (up slightly from $631). Along with this, a Pardon applicant can now pay their government filing fee by using a credit card, making the process considerably more convenient for some. Previously, applicants applying for a Canadian Pardon were only allowed to pay the fee either by money order, bank draft, or certified cheque.
Need Help Navigating the Pardon Application Process?
From application to approval, the Pardon process can be daunting or overwhelming to navigate, especially considering the changes to legislation that are constantly being implemented to the system. Applicants that want to ensure the process is completed accurately and successfully can consider the help of an accredited firm to help them navigate the application process. At least, applicants need to keep themselves informed and aware of any new changes that may affect their application.
About the Author
Joel LaForest is a Research Analyst with Pardon Applications of Canada and the owner of The Hobo Marketing Co., specializing in writing about law, finance, health, and wealth.