Contrary to some insincere sales tactics by some of our competitors Bill C23-B was never going to mean the end of pardons. So I would like to clear the air about what is real and what is not real concerning this Bill and Canada’s pardon program. The following points should help clarify a few things for those of you trying to make an educated decision about what pardon service you would like to hire.
Bill C23-B was never going to mean the end of pardons. It would have increased the waiting period for eligibility and it would have renamed the term Canadian pardon to record suspension. But it would all amount to the same thing. Your record would be removed and kept separate and apart from active criminal records.
Bill C23-B would have eliminated pardons (or records suspensions, call it whatever you like) for some serious offenders, particularly sexual offenders involving youth. But for the vast majority of crimes committed in Canada it would have been business as usual.
Bill C23-B is effectively dead following the election. If we end up with a Conservative majority government the Tories have pledged to write a single, sweeping crime bill. The measures in C23-B will certainly be included. Without a Conservative majority it is unlikely that the Bill will pass without significant modification.
No pardons services provider can offer you a grandfather clause. I have spoken to several people who were promised this if they signed up with company X right away. So let me make this clear. Your application must be complete, correct and submitted to the Parole Board of Canada in order to be assured that it will be reviewed based on the current rules. If it is not submitted by the time the rules change (if they change, and that is a big if right now) then your application will be reviewed based on the new rules.
If you have any questions about Bill C23-B or feel you were misled by another company I would be happy to hear from you. I know what I am talking about as I was involved in the process. I was invited to speak at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security in Ottawa. I was questioned by members of all political parties.
NO AGENCY BUT THE PAROLE BOARD OF CANADA CAN GRANDATHER YOUR APPLICATION.
It has certainly been an interesting process but unfortunately I can’t help believing that Bill C23-B was purely political posturing. The fact that some pardon services are profiting from people’s ignorance of the bill makes it a messy affair indeed.
All we can hope for at this point is that the Conservatives do not get a majority and the bill dies with the election results. But I am far from confident. The Conservatives are very dedicated to their crime agenda and I don’t think this is the last we have heard about amendments to restrict Canada’s pardon program.