In March 2012, the Conservative government passed an omnibus crime bill called Bill C-51 which included many changes to the pardons laws.
One specific change was the name from “pardon” to “record suspension”. The effect of the criminal record suspension is the same as the pardon which effectively removes your criminal record from being viewed by the public. However, Pardons Canada was disappointed with the name change as “record suspension” implies that the criminal record is still looming somewhere and does not give the individual the freedom they really deserve once the pardon is granted.
Other adverse changes to the pardons laws was the eligibility requirements for obtaining a pardon. Summary offences were changed from a three year to five year wait and indictable offences were changed from a five year to a ten year wait. These longer waiting times are very punitive to those who have committed a crime, paid their punishment and now want to re-integrate into society as a contributing member.
Regardless, removing a criminal record can be a very liberating feeling and Pardons Canada helps thousands of people each year to obtain pardons, record suspensions and US Entry Waivers.
Here’s a recent thank you letter from a person we helped to obtain a criminal record suspension for a number of theft convictions: