Good news for pardon applicants currently residing in British Columbia and Ontario. The Parole Board of Canada is upholding recent court decisions in those provinces which found retroactive changes to the pardon program under Stephen Harper and the Conservative’s ‘tough on crime’ stance to be unconstitutional. Bill C-10, which came into full effect as of March 13, 2012, will no longer apply to those currently residing in British Columbia or Ontario wishing to apply for a pardon and convicted prior to the bill being passed into law. The $631 submission fee remains in place, but applicants are able to apply under the former legislation and waiting periods.
Bill C-10, when passed, changed the required waiting periods to be eligible for a pardon from 3 to 5 years for less serious (summary) offences, and from 5 to 10 years for more serious (indictable) offences. This waiting period commenced from the completion of the sentence, including community service, fine and restitution payments, probation and/or house arrest, and jail time. Certain crimes were also made ineligible to be pardoned, like sexual offences against minors and those with 4 or more convictions where the individual was sentenced to 2 years or more in jail. This legislation was made retroactive, meaning that anyone that did not already have an application submitted and in process with the Parole Board at the time was subject to the new rules regardless of when they were convicted of their crime(s).
Unfortunately the reversal of Bill C-10 does not apply to those residing outside of Canada, or in other provinces; those individuals must apply under the current pardon (record suspension) legislation. We hope and anticipate that similar challenges to the current pardon system will be mounted in the other provinces, and/or that the current Liberal government will move more quickly towards reversing the legislation entirely. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has agreed that the changes made to the pardon system by the previous Conservative government are overly punitive. He has publicly stated that the legislation is currently under review, stating “the government is committed to reforming the legislation related to pardons”. However, additional statements have yet to be issued regarding any progress made in this respect or when we can expect to have an update from the government on any proposed changes.
- Only applicants currently residing in Ontario or British Columbia are eligible to apply under the old legislation
- Your conviction must have occurred prior to March 2012 to be eligible to apply under the old legislation
- It does not matter where your conviction took place
- Applicants with 4 or more convictions where sentence was 2+ years in jail no longer ineligible
- Sex offences involving minors no longer ineligible
- Fine payments must still be proved and factor into eligibility
Please note that over the next several weeks we will be reaching out to all of our current clients affected by these charges regarding resuming their applications. If you are now eligible and would like to open a file with our office, or have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly via phone toll free at 1-866-242-2411 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information can be obtained directly from the Parole Board of Canada at 1-800-874-2652 or via email at email@example.com.
We will be updating our blog with additional information as it becomes available.
Statement from the Parole Board of Canada:
Articles re: BC and Ontario Court Cases: