SOURCE: Pardon Applications of Canada

Pardon Applications of Canada

May 24, 2016 16:54 ET

Lowering Pardon Fees Only Part of the Solution for Trudeau Government, Says CEO

OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - May 24, 2016) - In response to the Trudeau government's current review of the pardon application fee, a private nationwide firm which completes the pardon application process on behalf of eligible residents and Canadians described the potential change as "a step in the right direction, but not the entire step."

In an open letter posted on the website of the pardon application service firm, CEO Chris Heringer, who also co-founded the firm in 2011, seemed encouraged by the meticulous nature of the government's review.

"Now, the Trudeau government is doing the right thing. They are taking careful consideration into all the factors changes to the pardon system could influence. And they're demonstrating an openness to feedback, which has not always been the case in previous regimes," Heringer wrote.

Amongst the issues currently under review are changes to the Criminal Records Act legislated by the previous Harper government, which in part, increased pardon wait period times, more than quadrupled the government's pardon fee, and changed the name from a "pardon" to "record suspension."

Heringer suggests that some of these changes were short-sighted.

"I support a two-tiered fee structure depending on the complexity and nature of the offender's criminal record and situation," said Heringer. "What I believe has had a larger, more negative impact, has been the increase in wait periods."

Currently, an eligible pardon applicant must wait a minimum of 5 years to apply after a summary offence, whereas that is doubled to 10 years for an indictable offence. Previously, it was 3 years for a summary and 5 years for an indictable.

"The Parole Board should place more emphasis on the specific reformation steps of an individual, and less emphasis on the amount of time that has passed. I believe returning to 3 & 5 years, respectively, is reasonable and serves Canadians better. Remember, these are already eligible residents and/or citizens of Canada that meet every other condition to get a pardon. Why make them wait longer, assuming they have met all other criteria, to take such a positive and impactful step forward in their life," he said.

With respect to the change in terminology of "pardon" to "record suspension," Heringer believes that was an uphill battle not worth the effort to begin with. One theory as to the change was that the word pardon suggested complete exoneration of an offence, which in some cases could be offensive to its victim. And, the Conservative government may have wanted to emphasize that a criminal record is never truly removed. It is "suspended" with the details placed separate from publicly visible charges.

"But it's typical political correctness that offers more confusion than help," said Heringer.

Since 2011, Heringer's firm has responded to more than 100,000 inquiries via phone and its website related to the pardon application process and recent changes.

Contact Information

  • For more information or an interview spot contact:

    Sujithaa Jesunesan
    Pardon Applications of Canada