Breaking News – Liberals Announce Pardon Overhaul

Great news! Today Ralph Goodale, Public Safety Minister, announced a plan to overhaul Canada’s pardon system which was made, in Goodale’s words, more punitive under the Conservative government.

I couldn’t agree more. The changes to the pardon system were done purely for political reasons and I believe the Conservative government should be ashamed of its stance on pretty much anything related to crime and punishment. It’s probably fair to say that most of the people working in criminal justice would agree with me.

Based on the announcement this review should include:

  • The User Fee Act which increased the cost of filing a pardon to $631.
  • Review of the increase in waiting periods to apply for a pardon.
  • Review of the term “record suspension”.

These are just most obvious aspects of the changes to the pardon system that need to be re-adjusted. If I am able to get a meeting with Mr. Goodale I would like to discuss the following.

  • Review of the policy regarding unpaid fines: a major obstacle to applying for a pardon is unpaid fines. Our position is fines must be paid but it should not affect waiting periods. We have clients with unpaid fines from 30 years ago that now must wait an additional 10 years for a pardon.
  • Review of the strikes clause: 3 strikes rules are notoriously misguided in criminal justice.
  • Review of the services industry and the need for government regulation.

So stay tuned. This is a very, very good development. I would also suggest getting a file going today. With a strong majority government there is a very good chance these changes could take place within the year and hopefully much sooner. Let us be the ones to stay informed and make sure you get your pardon as soon as possible.

Anyone with questions can direct them to me personally.

Michael Ashby

514-842-2411 x 227


About Michael Ashby

Michael Ashby is Co-Founder and Communications Director for the National Pardon Centre. Get in touch with Michael by sending an email to or calling extension 227.Michael Ashby est le co-fondateur et le directeur des communications au Centre du Pardon national. Contactez Michael par email au ou par téléphone au poste 227.


  • Denise says:

    Hello Micheal,

    You have been a great source of information for anyone who has applied for a pardon or is waiting to do so, Great job!

    It’s good to hear the new Liberal Government is prepared to do something to overhaul the system the Cons so unfairly made changes to. This is great news for anyone waiting to apply for a pardon but what about the people who have been waiting in backlog for upwards of 4 years, is there anything going to be done to address this issue?

    • Michael Ashby says:

      Hi Denise,

      I would think the backlog should be priority number one (unbelievably shameful what the Tories did there) but I haven’t heard any news. Stay tuned to the blog. If I do hear anything I will be writing about it.

      And thank you very much for the kind words.


  • Ben Hossen says:

    Hi Michael
    I am very pleased that the Liberal party will overhaul the Conservatives tough on crime policy altogether .The increment of the waiting period to be able to apply for a record suspension from 3 years to 5 years for Summary offence and 5 Years to 10 Years for indictable
    offence was outrageous. If a indictable offence was committed by a 19 or 20 year person , with the
    waiting period before they get their day in court , if they get convicted , their time in jail ,time of probation after release and the waiting period to file for a record suspension and the waiting period
    to get the record suspended , this 19 or 20 year old person will be in his mid thirties when it’s all done.Can you imagine the amount of missed good employment opportunities and the stress , the anxiety that comes with it during those years.. Michael I cross my fingers that your party will reverse
    the waiting period as it was before 3 years and 5 years and also change the record suspension to Pardon Canada as it was previously… Hope for the best

    • Michael Ashby says:

      Hi Ben,

      Agreed. I think there is a better than average chance of it happening. The Liberals won with a very strong majority so they can pretty much do as they please.

      Best regards,


  • John Smith says:

    Good morning,

    I visit your blog section everyday as I was looking for news about a Pardon program review since the liberals won by a landslide at the last elections. I’m currently working for Hydro Quebec with a criminal record( indictable offence). Lucky as I am , I still feel trapped as I cant apply for higher positions in the administration or change companies due to my record. I was eligible for pardon only in 2020 under the Cons but knowing the program will be reviewed and overhauled brought me hope for sooner record suspension. Thank you for everything you are doing and giving us hope.

    • Michael Ashby says:

      Hi John,

      If you’d like to discuss your case feel free to give me a call. I would also suggest getting a file going sooner than later since I am sure the laws will change. But it might be worth discussing since the nature of your charges will make a difference.

      Kind regards,]

      514.842.2411 x 227

  • john doe says:

    Thank you Micheal for this great news. I was losing faith in the system. Hopefully this happens sooner rather then later

    • Michael Ashby says:

      My pleasure although I can’t say it’s really up to me. Hopefully it happens sooner than later.

      Best regards,


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