Lift the Burden is pleased that the government has opened the Record Suspension user fee up to a public input.
On May 9, the government announced that it was accepting input on the fee which is currently $631. It has been our position that the user fee creates a barrier that prevents people from accessing the service.
Prior to 2012, the user fee to access a pardon was $150. At one time it was free. In 2012, the government raised the cost to $631 in order to recover the full fee from the applicant.
Thus, many people who are struggling with employment issues due to a past criminal record, continue to face record checks that bar them from many occupations. This potentially results in stigma, poverty and low self-esteem. People who are able to fully participate in society to their maximum potential - through employment, volunteerism and travel - are less likely to reoffend.
Psychologically, a Record Suspension can give people the boost they need to pursue their dreams and put the past behind them.
Thus, we believe that Record Suspensions should be free and the waiting period should be reduced. This would support the reintegration of people with criminal records back into society and improve community safety.
We encourage everyone to complete the public consultation feedback form.