Historically, putting off applying for a pardon/record suspension can be costly. Back in 2012 the Conservative government increased wait times to 5 years for summary offenses and 10 years for an indictable offense. If you became eligible to make a pardon application prior to 2012, but didn’t apply for a pardon before the laws changed, you now had to wait longer. Only recently have legal challenges the in B.C. and Ontario courts reversed the retroactive changes to the Criminal Records Act for residents of those provinces. We are as of yet unaware of any legal challenge being mounted in Manitoba. In addition to longer waiting times, the pardon process also became more expensive as the application fee increased from $50 to $631.
Putting off a pardon application proved to be expensive in both time and money for many people.
Don’t Wait Until You Realize “I Need a Pardon”
We often see cases where someone has an urgent need for a criminal pardon/record suspension. Recent changes in their employment, or a reasons for travel has motivated them to get the pardon process started. But there in lies the issue – a pardon application is a process. It takes time to pull together the needed elements of the application and then more time for the Parole Board of Canada to review the application and make a decision. Regardless of the promises of online companies to “expedite” or “fast track” your record suspension application, everyone waits the same amount of time.
There is no jumping the line no matter how much you pay for an “expedited” pardon application.
Is U.S. Travel Needed?
After being approved for record suspension/pardon, your Canadian criminal record will be sealed, but even so you may have to apply for a U.S. waiver allowing you entry into the United States. Your application to travel to the United States must be approved by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and they can’t be rushed any more than the Parole Board of Canada.
Employment over time has seen the requirement for a criminal record checks increase yearly. Security concerns for something as simple as volunteering to coach a kids soccer team now requires a vulnerable sector criminal record check. Simply finding an apartment to rent can become a hassle with a criminal record depending on your provincial laws. For example:
Nova Scotia government website states that landlords can conduct “background checks on prospective tenants.”
On a more global scale, travel across borders, even our friendly U.S./Canada Border, has become more scrutinized than any other time in history. Even something as minor as the contents of your cellphone can now cause you to be refused entry into foreign countries. Government world wide are more apt to reduce your freedom to travel than to reduce the requirements to cross their borders.
The Bottom Line
In the long run politicians everywhere have to “protect public safety” and a tough on crime stance will, historically, get more votes than a more lenient one. If you are eligible for a pardon, history suggests it would be best to apply sooner than later. You might never know when you will need to have a sealed record until it’s too late.
Pardon eligibility consultation are free. Call us at 204-453-0099 or fill in the contact form.