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Omnibus Crime Bill and Pardons

One thing we can say for certain is that Stephen Harper’s omnibus crime bill has certainly had the desired effect on Canada’s pardon program that it intended. Pardon applications are way down.

 Rob Nicholson and Vic Toews Gave Canada the Omnibuc Crime Bill.

Rob Nicholson and Vic Toews Gave Canada the Omnibuc Crime Bill.

This is, of course, just an opinion. I can’t say for sure if the number of applicants is down because of the crime bill, because of the cost increase or simply because so many people were applying before the changes took place. It’s quite possible that the rush of applications occurring in the past couple of years meant that there would be fewer people wanting to apply afterwards, regardless of whether the rules changed or not.

Edit 2014: The number of applications submitted to the Parole Board of Canada has dropped considerably. 

It is, however, hard to imagine that changing the eligibility criteria from a 3 and 5 year waiting period (summary vs indictable offences) to a 5 and 10 year waiting period would not have some effect on the number of people applying. The fact is that the number of people applying with companies like ours is down and in turn the number of applications being sent to the Parole Board is down too.

If you have a criminal record, don’t let any of the new changes deter you. Yes it more expensive. Yes it takes longer before you become eligible. But the value of a cleared criminal record is still there and pardons are still accessible to most. True it’s no longer called a pardon. It’s called a record suspension. But at the National Pardon Centre we call it like it is and it is still a pardon.

So don’t delay. Getting rid of a criminal record is one of the best things you can do to guarantee a better, stress free future.

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