Lift the Burden
1 in 8 Canadians has a criminal record, hindering their ability to find employment, travel, or even just coach their kids’ soccer games. Lift the Burden, an advocacy campaign sponsored by AllCleared (formerly Pardon Services Canada), aims to help erase the stigma of a past criminal record and advocate for legislative amendments to make record suspensions (formerly called pardons) free and accessible to all law abiding Canadians.
Lift the Burden feels that it is unfair that only residents of two provinces can apply for pardons under old rules. This is happening because courts in Ontario and BC struck down retroactive provisions of the law as unconstitutional, which means they have no force. Pardons are a federal program and these retroactive provisions should not be in effect in any province. Read about our letter to the government and our article in the Lawyer's Daily.
AllCleared wrote an opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun about the recent court decisions that ruled the changes to Canada's pardon rules were unconstitutional. Read CEO Azmairnin Jadavji's piece about why the government needs to act now on pardon reform.
Amendments made to the Criminal Records Act in 2012 have made it significantly more difficult for ordinary Canadians to receive a record suspension. Eligibility wait times jumped from three years to five years for summary offences, and doubled from five years to 10 years for indictable offences. At the same time, government filing fees increased by a whopping 1200% from $50 to $631.
Together, by signing and sharing our petition, we can lift the burden for over 4 million Canadians whose futures don’t have to be limited by their past.
We believe that a record suspension is the last—but crucial—step in a fair and smart justice system. In fact, of the Canadians who have received a record suspension since 1970, 96% have not re-offended. That’s why we’re working to help lift the burden of deserving Canadians by advocating to restore the spirit of the Criminal Records Act.
We want record suspensions to be free.
- We want eligibility wait periods to be rolled back from five years to three years for summary offences and from ten years to five years for indictable offences.