We have recently been active in Ottawa debating the proposed pardons legislation Bill C23B. We are concerned about the impact the changes will have on those who have been rehabilitated but cannot get employment in Canada because of the new rules in obtaining a Pardon.
Here is a summary of what took place in the meeting of the Standing Committee for Public Safety and National Defence on Nov. 22, 2010:
The majority of the witnesses who addressed Bill C-23B appear to have been from Manitoba. Representatives from the John Howard Society of Manitoba appeared as did representatives from employment groups from the province. All of the witnesses were against the proposed legislation and felt that current system worked well with 96% of all pardons remaining in force.
The issue Pardons Canada raised did not come up specifically but both the Liberal and NDP MPs focused on the implications this legislation might have on employment opportunities for those seeking pardons. If the legislation passed, most of the witnesses who testified and who had a criminal record would no longer be eligible for a pardon. All of these witnesses said that the lack of a pardon would significantly hinder their ability to get decent paying employment and to pursue post-secondary education.
Many of the witnesses said that the term “record suspension” should not be substituted for “pardon”. The witnesses argued that the latter term was more significant and carried and a sense of closure, rehabilitation and an incentive to not reoffend while the former term carried a stigma and bias.
Not surprisingly, the Conservative MPs were focused on the party’s tough on crime agenda and kept referring to the role victims of crime play in the system.
Below is also a recent article from the Toronto Sun titled “Keep Pardon Requirement Lax: ex Cons”:
At Pardons Canada, we continue to advocate for the right for Canadians to obtain a Canada Pardon so that they can move forward in their lives without the stigma of having a criminal record which prevents opportunities for employment and travel.
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.