The federal government is proposing to significantly raise the fees for a pardon. In order to do this, they had to conduct a public forum outlining their plan and recieve feedback from the public. Over 1000 people objected to the proposal to raise the fees for a Canada Pardon and only a handful were agreeable to the increase.
Almost every employer in the country in now doing criminal checks for new employees, so a person who is unemployed has little chance of getting a job if they have a criminal record, even if its really old. Once a pardon is granted, the person will pass a criminal check without worry and can get work.
If a person is unemployed, their funds are limited and a Pardon is essential, so it is unfair to raise the fees for the approval of a pardon.
Here is a recent article entitled “Many Say cost for forgiveness too high”:
OTTAWA More than 98 per cent of people who responded to a federal consultation on quadrupling the application fee for a criminal pardon objected to the Conservative government’s idea.
The government wants to hike the cost of seeking a pardon to $631 from the current $150, saying taxpayers should not have to subsidize the process.
As required under the federal User Fees Act, the Parole Board of Canada — the body that vets pardon applications — held a February consultation to gather feedback on the proposal.
In response, 1,074 individuals and organizations said they did not agree with the proposed fee increase, while 12 were supportive, says a summary report by the parole board.
The report says people opposed to the fee increase most often said it would:
• pose a financial burden for applicants, with many unable to pay the increased fee;
• make it difficult or impossible for people to apply for a pardon who need one to help them obtain employment or pursue their education; and
• amount to further punishment to that already imposed by the court.
“Some also indicated that they thought the proposed fee increase was politically driven.”
The Canadian Press obtained responses to the consultation, with the names blanked out, under the Access to Information law.
“It is outrageous to think that quadrupling the pardon fee would be acceptable to all Canadians,” wrote one person.
Said another: “This proposal is preposterous.”
One said the plan was “not only a cash-grab, but is downright criminal.”
The Metro Community Chaplaincy of Dartmouth, N.S., said those most affected by the proposed fee increase are “disproportionately poor, disadvantaged, and marginalized.”
A law passed one year ago requires the parole board to assess the behaviour of applicants from the time of their conviction to ensure granting a pardon would not “bring the administration of justice into disrepute.”
It means scrutiny of pardon applications — once largely a matter of checking paperwork — has become much more labour-intensive and costly.
The parole board says that without a fee increase, demand will continue to outstrip its ability to provide timely pardon services.
The Canadian Press
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