We’ve received a lot of calls over the past few days from people concerned about the proposed changes to the Pardons legislation.
There is a lot of media surrounding this announcement but many articles are publishing rumours or incorrect information.
Below is an initial summary of the proposed Bill C23. Remember, this is a proposal and will not become law until it is passed by the legilative bodies.
Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes
Bill C-23, Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes Act, would amend the Criminal Records Act and other Acts. The current system of pardons would be replaced, and “pardons” would be replaced by a more restrictive and narrowly defined “record suspension.”
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.
The National Parole Board (NPB) may order a record suspension if it is satisfied that:
(For summary conviction offences):
■during the applicable waiting period, the applicant was of good conduct and was not convicted of an offence under an Act of Parliament;
(For indictable offences):
■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 NPB 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 NPB 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.
The NPB shall, within three (3) months of the end of each fiscal year, submit to the Minister a report containing the following information:
■the number of applications for record suspensions made for both summary conviction and indictable offences;
■the number of record suspensions ordered and the number of record suspensions refused in respect of both summary conviction and indictable offences;
■the number of record suspensions ordered, indexed by the offence to which they relate and the province of residence of the applicant; and
■any other information the Minister may require.
The NPB may disclose decisions that order or refuse to order record suspensions, though it may not disclose information that could reasonably be expected to identify an individual (unless authorized in writing by that individual).
These measures will come into force on Royal Assent as follows:
■applications received on or after the day of coming into force will be disposed of under the new measures;
■applications received prior to coming into force and not disposed of will be governed by the previous rules.
If you have any questions regarding this topic or about Pardons and US Entry Waivers email us at [email protected] or call 1-877-929-6011.