Can a Pardon Offer a Better Future?
Pardons in Canada are granted by the Parole Board of Canada, a government body which makes independent decisions on each Pardon (record suspension) application. It is an opportunity for criminally convicted individuals to seal their criminal record from public visibility. Assuming eligibility, even those with serious offences, or criminal records over a long period of time, can benefit from a Canadian Pardon and begin to rebuild their lives.
A Privilege or a Right?
A Pardon is a privilege, not a right. In fact, Canada is among a small number of countries in the world with a publicly applicable Pardon system. In the end, a Pardon is a mutual exchange and agreement between the applicant and the government of Canada. The government agrees to give the applicant a second chance at their record, while the Pardon recipient agrees not to re-offend in future and uphold a law-abiding life. A Pardon can even be revoked if the applicant does re-offend.
Let’s take a closer look at how a Pardon can truly benefit Canadians & residents and offer a better future.
Who Can Receive a Pardon?
Pardons can be awarded to individuals who have fully completed all sentencing since their last conviction and have surpassed a legal waiting period. Starting over with a clear criminal record reassures the individual and society of their rehabilitation and sustainability as a law-abiding citizen or resident of Canada. In the last 50 years, more than 600,000 people in Canada have received a Pardon. Individuals can apply by attempting the application process on their own or by retaining an accredited service to support them. Once a Pardon is granted, their criminal record is placed separate from the publicly visible portion of the CPIC database maintained by the RCMP where all criminal records are held in Canada.
How Do Pardons Help?
The government of Canada awards Canadian Pardons to people not only to help them eradicate their past but to help them realize that every individual can become a viable part of Canadian society. There are many benefits of a Pardon that a person may receive once their prior convictions are sealed.
Often, people hold a criminal record for committing minor offences such as shoplifting. These actions are most likely committed at a young age and are often isolated events. The real person is usually an upstanding member of society. However, the existence of a criminal record can create hurdles for such individuals during job applications, applying for a mortgage and more. Sealing their criminal record can help them evade such problems.
Renting or Buying Property
After being granted a Pardon, individuals won’t have to worry about a standard background check on a rental or purchase agreement.
Peace of Mind
The only thing constant is change. People who serve sentences improve their behavior to become law-abiding citizens. These individuals have completed their due diligence, proven sustained rehabilitation and deserve a second chance at life. Applying for a Canadian Pardon for any criminal record can be a significant step for every individual wanting to turn over a new leaf.
About the Author
Fareha Khurram is a Research Analyst with Pardon Applications of Canada.