New Pardon Legislation
The Conservative Government has passed new legislation regarding Pardons in Canada. The Omnibus Bill (Bill C10), also known as the Safe Streets and Communities Act, was officially passed by parliament March 12, 2012.
Bill C10 amends the Criminal Records Act, among other Acts. Below is a summary of the new law as it pertains to Pardons in Canada:
The word “Pardon” is now replaced with the word “Record Suspension.” A Record Suspension has the exact same affect as a Pardon. It is just a change in terminology.
To be granted a Record Suspension:
- the applicant must not have been convicted of an offence involving sexual activity relating to a minor – as set out in a schedule of specified offences – unless the applicant can demonstrate s/he was “close in age” and that the offence did not involve a position of trust/authority, bodily harm or threat of violence/intimidation;
- the applicant must not have been convicted of more than three (3) offences prosecuted by indictment, each of which received more than 2 years of jail time.
Waiting periods to be eligible for a Record Suspension have changed as follows:
Summary Convictions: From 3 years wait to 5 years
Indictable Convictions: From 5 years wait to 10 years
Please note that the waiting periods begin to run once the sentence imposed by the court is satisfied (ie: jail time served; fine paid).
The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) may order a Record Suspension if it is satisfied that:
- during the applicable waiting period, the applicant was of good conduct and was not convicted of an offence under an Act of Parliament;
- ordering the Record Suspension would provide a measurable benefit to the applicant; would sustain his or her rehabilitation in society as a law-abiding citizen and would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute.
- The onus is on the applicant to satisfy the PBC that a Record Suspension would provide a measurable benefit to themselves and sustain their rehabilitation as a law-abiding citizen.
In determining whether the ordering of a Record Suspension would bring the administration of justice into disrepute, the PBC may consider:
- the nature, gravity, and duration of the offence;
- the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offence; and
- information relating to the applicant’s criminal history.
These measures will come into force as follows:
- applications received by the Parole Board of Canada on or after the day of coming into force will be disposed of under the new measures;
- applications received by the Parole Board of Canada prior to coming into force and not disposed of will be governed by the previous rules.
To learn more about Bill C10, you may visit our blogs and search under: “Bill C10”, “Bill C23”, “New Pardon Legislation”.