Whenever I explain my work to someone, I am often met with wide eyes and questions about what it is like to deal with criminals all day long. Â I can’t help but laugh at this type of response as it shows how sensationalized the pardon issue has become.
The media latches onto stories about Karla Homolkas and leads the public to believe that the pardon world is far more outrageous than it actually is. To be honest, I think I dealt with more sinister characters on a daily basis when I worked at a restaurant while completing my undergraduate degree.
The vast majority of our clients are perfectly ordinary people who exercised poor judgement at some point in the past.
Take, for example, one client that we will call â€œAndreaâ€. She is very successful in the world of finance and who cannot take her children to Disney World because she admitted to Customs Officers that she had tried smoking pot once in college 20 years ago.
She was never charged with an offence and has never had any sort of negative interaction with the police and yet, because she was honest with Border Officials, she finds herself in need of our waiver services. Andrea has now submitted her completed application to Homeland Security and a positive response is anticipated. Â Her children can’t wait to meet Mickey!
Mark (again, not his real name) provides another instance of a good person who found himself with a criminal record. 10 years ago, he was a varsity athlete out celebrating with his teammates following a big win. The boys all had a little too much to drink so paid their tab and decided to leave the bar. Mark decided to try to sneak out with his half-finished pitcher of beer. He was quickly apprehended by pub security who called the police. He was formerly charged and later convicted of theft (of the pitcher). Today, Mark owns a successful business and has a 3 year old son who he hopes will love hockey as much as he does. Mark also realizes that his theft conviction will probably prevent him from volunteering with his son’s hockey team and so he has asked us to help him apply for his pardon. Fortunately, the Canadian Government recognizes that people like Mark make mistakes and that they deserve a second chance.
And finally there is a gentleman we will call Rob who is currently training to get his HVAC journeyman status. A few years ago, Rob got a little too enthusiastic at a football game and, at the urging of his buddies, decided to streak across the field.
He was tackled by police within about 15 seconds and found himself charged with indecent exposure, a sexual offence. Rob’s career is now on the line because he needs to be bondable and his record is creating a barrier to that. We are doing everything in our power to secure his pardon before he finishes school.
I could go on with literally dozens of similar examples but I hope this is enough to reassure everyone that our clients are generally good, normal folks who got themselves into trouble at some point in their lives but who are in no way a threat to society anymore. I am proud to say that we can help people such as the ones mentioned above move forward with their lives.