You can still get a pardon
Bill C23B contained a lot of ineffective ideas that haven’t the faintest hope of making anyone any safer. But one thing is thankfully did not do was eliminate pardons. Although some of our competitors made easy sales by saying pardons would no longer be possible once the bill passed, this was simply not true.
Bill C23B (which was later included in Bill C10 also known as the Conservative omnibus crime bill) did eliminate pardons for some offenders. The majority of the people no longer able to obtain pardons are those who have sexual offences involving a minor. Others excluded from obtaining a pardon are those with more than 3 indictable offences each of which was punished by more than 2 years in jail. The rest of the 3 million Canadians with a criminal record should be ok to apply.
So how did these other companies convince so many people that pardons would no longer be available?
It is because pardons were renamed to record suspensions. I have written about this before but it is worth repeating because a record suspension is still a pardon. If you are still eligible to get a record suspension it will be the exact same thing as a pardon. We can call apples oranges if we like but they are still going to be apples.
So don’t be fooled. There is a lot of misinformation out there on Canadian pardons and criminal records. And as bad as BIllC23B was for the pardon program it did not wipe out pardons entirely. For the most part it is business as usual.
The big changes are what we would expect from any government, but particularly this one. Pardons are now more expensive, more difficult to obtain and you have to wait longer in line before you can be eligible to have your criminal record sealed.
So much for the Conservative’s being that party that wants people getting back to work.