How does the system work today?
In 2012, fundamental changes to the Criminal Records Act took place to tighten the pardon/record suspension procedure, making it more stringent.
Record Suspensions are more expensive:
The cost of obtaining a record suspension increased by nearly 1200% when it jumped from $50 to $631. 99% of those citizens consulted by the government called this increase an extra tax that makes the process inaccessible to many who need this service the most, and an unnecessary barrier towards reintegration (PBC Consultation Report for Proposed Increases, 2011).
People have to wait almost double the time to be eligible for a Record Suspension:
Prior to the changes, the system provided those with summary offences a period of 3 years after the completion of their sentence to be eligible for a record suspension, and 5 years for those with indictable offences.
Today, past offenders of a summary offence would have to wait 5 years, and those of an indictable offense would need to wait 10. That`s nearly double the time that ordinary Canadians, who have already served their time and received their due punishment, are forced to wait until their record can be cleared.
The reality for ordinary Canadians
Life is now harder and more expensive when it comes to obtaining relief for the majority of past offenders whose crime is non-violent, non-sexual, and of a relatively minor scale, as these new obstacles can cause difficulty in the job search, volunteering, and traveling.
The reality for society
With 1 in 8 Canadians having difficulty securing a job, volunteering, and traveling because of a criminal record, we argue that the changes will make society less safe by preventing the opportunity of reintegration. In fact, of the Canadians who have received a record suspension since 1970, 96% have not re-offended.
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