OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 19, 2013) -
Editors note: There is a photo associated with this press release.
Canadians with a criminal record can experience more than an abstract sense of relief by obtaining a pardon -- it's an opportunity to seal past mistakes from public visibility forever.
According to Pardon Applications of Canada, a nationwide application firm with offices in Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa and Toronto, a pardon offers a legitimate fresh start to those who are sincerely remorseful for their criminal mistakes. Now officially known as a record suspension since legislative changes in March 2012, a pardon can also offer what the Parole Board of Canada calls "measurable benefits" to the applicant.
"Employment seems to be one of the foremost reasons individuals decide to take this step," said Chris Heringer, a senior executive with the private firm which in 2012 assisted more than 5,000 Canadians in obtaining a pardon. "And it's not just concern over finding a new job. Even those who are currently employed want to make sure their record does not come to light when opportunities for advancement are presented," he added.
It is now commonplace for companies to request a criminal background check before they hire. A Canadian's criminal record can be a substantial inhibitor when applying for work. But after an individual has received a record suspension, their past mistakes are sealed from public visibility forever.
But Heringer suggested numerous other benefits Canadians can experience by getting a fresh start on their criminal record.
"It's difficult today to own or manage a business with any sort of credibility when you have a record. So despite what you might envision about the typical Canadian with a criminal record, many applicants are legitimate small business owners who add significant value to the community and country," he said.
"They don't want their past to affect their livelihood going forward," he added.
In addition to employment, acquiring a record suspension can aid in an individual's ability to volunteer, further education, adopt a child, or even rent an apartment.
According to the Parole Board of Canada's website, over 450,000 Canadians have received a pardon since 1970, with 96% still in force today. Since a pardon is typically revoked should the individual reoffend, the statistic demonstrates that the vast majority of pardon recipients have remained crime free. In other words, the system works.
"Although less tangible, another significant benefit of obtaining a pardon is closure," said Heringer. "Most people who contact Pardon Applications of Canada are good people that have a mistake or two in their past. They are sincere in their remorse and want to go forward as a law abiding citizen for the rest of their life," he added.
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