There has been a large increase in Pardons applications because most employers in Canada are running criminal checks on new employers and in some cases, existing employers. This means that anyone with an old criminal record requires a Pardon if they want to be safe to get a job.
Also, the Americans are becoming more strict at the border, running more criminal checks and turning people with a criminal record away at the border. Thus, requiring them to get a US Entry Waiver or I-194 which is expensive and time consuming.
Here is a recent article from “Politics and the Nation Post Media News” that talks about the possibility of a rate hike. The rate hike is also coming in the wake of new Pardon legislation being proposed in Ottawa, known as Bill C23.
The NPB wants to raise the price of pardons to $150 from the current $50. Pardons, if granted, effectively make a criminal record invisible by shielding the information from potential employers and the like.
They are granted to the vast majority of applicants. Shelley Trevethan, the NPB executive-director general, explained this week to a Senate committee why the board wants to hike its fee this fall or winter to make the pardon program self-sustainable. It would be the first increase in pardon fees since the charge was implemented in the mid-1990s.
The board receives $35 of this amount, while the RCMP receives $15, but the user fee is no longer covering the costs of administration, so it is diverting money from other NPB resources. Here’s what Trevethan said:
“Although the fee has remained the same, inflation, processing costs and the volume of pardon applications have increased significantly. The number of pardon applications we receive has risen sharply in recent years, from an historical average of approximately 20,000 a year to more than 36,000 in 2008-09. This increase demonstrates that interest in securing a pardon has grown. This is in part because the number of Canadians with criminal records has increased. Also, there is more scrutiny placed on an individual’s past when applying for a job, securing a loan, volunteering, getting certain licenses or furthering an education. The need to meet our legislated mandate for pardons has meant that the board has had to divert funds from its conditional release budget to address chronic shortfalls in the pardons program. Without an increase to the current fee, the pardon program will continue to be unsustainable.”
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