There are two kinds of fees associated with getting a pardon in Canada. The first is government fees payable to the various agencies involved in document requests required for the application you will submit to the Parole Board of Canada. These costs are unavoidable. The second cost is any fee you will be charged by a lawyer, paralegal or pardon services company. If you choose to have a professional prepare your application you are generally limited to those three choices.
The first category is not worth worrying about since you cannot avoid paying them because if you don’t, you cannot get a pardon. It’s that simple. Governments want their money so you’re not getting a pardon without paying the government.
Government fees incurred during the application process include the following:
- Fingerprinting (this may be payable to an outsourced private company rather than the police)
- RCMP fingerprinting certification
- Court documents
- Local police checks
- PBC filing fee
The second category is the one you need to give considerable thought to because there is a huge discrepancy in what people are being charged for this service. There are also several scams circulating freely and if you’re not careful you may find yourself paying a lot of money for no service at all.
But assuming that you are going to hire a (hopefully) reputable company that will perform the service you pay for, here are a few things to consider.
- A lawyer will generally be the most expensive option.
- Lawyers are very unlikely to specialize in pardons.
- Paralegals are also unlikely to specialize in pardons.
- Pardon service providers, although specialized and generally less expensive, are the source of every pardon scam in the country right now.
What to do?
You need to do your research. Investigate the company you intend to hire, especially if it’s a pardon service provider. If it’s a lawyer you need to make sure that the lawyer knows what she’s doing. If it’s a paralegal you need to do the same thing.
What to look out for when hiring a company
If you plan on hiring someone to prepare your application you should consider the following:
- Does the company / lawyer / paralegal have an office that you can visit in person? If not then it is probably not worth the risk.
- Does the C / L / P provide fingerprinting services and have an RCMP accreditation?
- How is the C / L / P reviewed on the Better Business Bureau?
- What is the TOTAL cost of the service you will be asking for?
- What is the TOTAL cost of the government and disbursement fees? Are those fees included in the service fee (hint: they never are).
- Are monthly payments fixed or do they continue indefinitely?
Unlimited Monthly Payments
The final point is one I’m hearing a lot lately and it surprised me that it’s happening so much. But no matter who you decide to hire (if anyone) to prepare your pardon application one thing that needs to be agreed upon is a total price for the service. If you can’t agree on a start to finish cost for the services being offered it is almost a certainty that you will be overbilled and / or outright scammed.
Of course lawyers generally don’t operate like this. A lawyer will tend to charge you an hourly wage for the time spent on the application. But a lawyer is also largely overqualified for pardon services. So I generally don’t advise people to hire lawyers to get a pardon.
But it’s ultimately your choice and your responsibility and then best thing you can do to protect yourself from being taken advantage of is educate yourself.
If you have any questions on our service, our costs or anything else to do with pardon applications in Canada just give me a call or send me an email. I’m always happy to help.
514.842.2411 x 227
To view the total costs involved with processing your pardon with the National Pardon Centre click below :