The Government of Canada is committed to removing barriers to the safe and successful reintegration of people with criminal records who have served their sentences and are living law-abiding lives.
Today, the Minister of Public Safety has announced that the Government will make record suspensions (formerly known as “pardons”) more affordable by significantly reducing the application fee. Starting January 1, 2022, the cost of applying for a record suspension will be $50, reduced from the current cost of $657.77.
The significantly lower fee will improve access to record suspensions, especially for people with lower incomes. Obtaining a record suspension helps to remove the stigma of a criminal record so that people can access housing, employment, education and volunteer opportunities, which are key to their safe and successful reintegration as productive members of society. In this way, record suspensions improve public safety through reduced re-offending and victimization.
In addition, as announced on June 10, 2021 the Government will:
- Invest in program modernization for the Parole Board of Canada, including with the development of a new online portal to make the application process simpler and quicker.
- Provide $22.2 million over 5 years to community-based organizations to offer support services to help people complete record suspension applications and increase awareness of these support services. This will help ensure people who apply for record suspensions have access to the right information about the record suspension process and reduce reliance on third-party, for-profit companies that charge high fees.
In an effort to further remove barriers to safe and successful reintegration, the Government will continue exploring the automated sequestering of some criminal records for those living crime-free, in consultation with provinces, territories and municipalities, as well as other key criminal justice stakeholders.
The Parole Board of Canada is an independent administrative tribunal that, as part of the Canadian criminal justice system, makes quality conditional release and record suspension decisions, and clemency recommendations.
In addition to the $50 application processing fee, applicants are responsible for any additional fees required as part of their record suspension application, such as fingerprints, record retrieval, court documents and police checks.