Pardon Statistics 2014 – 2015

Pardon statistics are a bit more confusing than need be largely due to the crime bill introduced by the Conservative government in 2012. In case you haven’t heard pardons are now called record suspensions. For more information on that click below:

Omnibus Crime Bill

It should be noted that pardon applications stopped being submitted to the Parole Board in February 2012. So every single pardon granted last year had been waiting in a backlog for a very long time. For more information on the backlog click below:

Pardons Backlog

In the year prior to Bill C-10 the notorious omnibus crime bill almost 30,000 pardons were submitted to the Parole Board for review. So even if we include the number of pardons granted last year with the number of record suspensions it’s clear that bill C-10 had a negative effect on the number of Canadians seeking to remove their criminal record. This is a shame for many reasons that we don’t need to go into now.

The purpose of this post is just to look at the numbers. Here they are.

Number of Pardons Granted

In 2014-2015: 6,316 pardon decisions rendered, 89% pardons granted and 11% pardons denied.

Number of Record Suspensions Ordered

In 2014-2015: 9,169 record suspension rendered, 92% record suspensions ordered and 8% refused.

Note: Since 1970, more than 490,000 Canadians have received pardons and record suspensions. 95 percent of these are still in force, indicating that the vast majority of pardon/record suspension recipients remain crime-free in the community.

The Royal Prerogative of Mercy is a bit different from the Pardon program. You can think of it as a more traditional pardon that comes from someone in power (the Queen) although the comparison isn’t perfect since it doesn’t exactly work that way. At any rate it is very seldom used. And prior to Bill C10 it would hardly have been used at all.

Number of Royal Prerogative of Mercy Granted

In 2014, there were 107 active clemency cases. In the last five years (between 2010 and 2014), 14 clemency requests have been granted, four have been denied and 111 have been discontinued.

Of course we are still hoping that pardons will come back and a more inclusive pardon system will prevail in the long term. At the moment a lot of people are excluded from the program. But since the Liberal government has announced plans to roll back some of the measures brought about by the omnibus crime bill I have hope once again.

Stay tuned.

Stats provided by the Parole Board of Canada

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