Bill C23B set to pass, Part of Omni Bus Crime Bill
With the Conservative Majority government having submitted the Safe Streets and Communities Act, also known as the Omni Bus Crime Bill, it is now a near certainty that Bill C23B an act to eliminate pardons for serious crimes will be passed. Bill C23B is just one of 9 bills included in the new crime bill that the Conservatives are intent on passing within 100 sitting days of parliament. The new bill is Bill C10.
So what does all this mean for people who have not yet been granted a pardon?
There are a few measures in the bill that could potentially affect you very seriously. Some will have no effect whatsoever.
The term pardon is sure to be swapped for the term record suspension. This is meaningless. If you are still eligible for a record suspension then it will mean exactly the same thing as a pardon. So call it whatever you like. I am quite certain the term pardon will continue to be widely used anyway.
Waiting periods will change to 5 years for summary offences and ten years for indictable offences.
Perhaps the worst measure in this bill is that people with more than three indictable offences will no longer be eligible for a pardon. The number of solid upstanding people I have talked to who turned their lives around is beyond counting. Many of them had more than three indictable charges on their record.
Pardons will no longer be accessible for anyone with a sexual related offence against a minor. This seems like a very reasonable measure until you hear stories of someone in their early 20’s having sex with his/her 17 year old girlfriend/boyfriend. Does it really make sense to label these people child sex offenders for the rest of their lives?
The other measure that is likely to come into effect but is not actually a part of the legislation is that the fee for a pardon is set to increase dramatically to $631, unless the Conservatives come up with another odd number. At the moment the fee payable to the Parole Board is $150.
If you have any questions about record suspensions or other matter relating to the removal of criminal records you can email me any time.