Parallel pardon systems are legally unacceptable
Lift the Burden is raising awareness about the fact that residents of only two provinces, BC and Ontario, can benefit from recent court decisions on the constitutionality of 2012 changes to pardon laws.
Courts in these two provinces ruled that it was unconstitutional to apply these changes retroactively, because this had the effect of extending the punishment of the convicted person after sentencing. Thus, these provisions are of no force and effect. Unfortunately the Parole Board of Canada is only accepting applications under the old rules in two provinces, Ontario and BC. This is legally unacceptable according to a legal opinion that we requested.
Lift the Burden reached out to a legal adviser to seek an opinion on allowing only residents of two provinces access to rules under a federal program. We have been advised that this is a legally unacceptable situation.
As a result, Azmairnin Jadavji, CEO of AllCleared, reached out to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and the Parole Board of Canada. Our letters request that everyone be permitted to apply under the pre-2012 until such time as the federal government makes the promised reforms to the system as a whole.
We recently shared our letter to the Minister of Justice with the Lawyer's Daily and spoke to them about this situation. Read the article and sign the petition calling on Canada to reform the pardon system.