The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) which is the national agency responsible for granting and revoking Record Suspensions is currently experiencing a backlog of Record Suspension applications. This is due to changes made to the Criminal Records Act (CRA) in 2010. The amendments essentially make the paperwork required by the PBC more complicated and time-consuming.
If you’ve submitted an application for a Record Suspension before March 2012, you can expect a longer than usual processing time. The good news is that the PBC is placing a priority on processing applications for Record Suspensions, so you can move closer to having your record sealed sooner, rather than later. A Record Suspension is considered a “full-cost recovery model” and must meet regulations in the User Fees Act. This means that a Record Suspension application must be processed:
- Within 6 months for a summary offence
- Within 12 months for a indictable offence
- Within 24 months when the Board proposes to refuse an application.
What Exactly was Amended in the CRA?
Changes made to the Criminal Records Act (Bill C-23A) were passed on June 29, 2010. These new changes and rules apply to all Pardons and Record Suspension applications submitted after this date. Here are a few of the main changes made to the CRA:
- More difficult to receive a Pardon for people with convictions related to serious personal injuries.
- The Parole Board of Canada has been granted greater power to reject applications they feel would cause damage to the status of justice in the nation.
- Increased mandatory wait times increased from three to five years for summary (less serious) offences and from five years to 10 years for indictable (serious) offences.
What’s the Difference Between a Pardon and a Record Suspension?
Often, the terms Pardon and Record Suspension are used interchangeably; however in March 2012, the Conservative government officially replaced the term “Pardon” with the term “Record Suspension” because they wanted to take a tougher stance on crime and felt the term Pardon was too forgiving.
The new term, Record Suspension, and the new rules and regulations for applying for one are more stringent which make the application process longer. However, receiving a Record Suspension is still well worth the effort providing the opportunity of a fresh start.
As it can take between 12 to 24 months to gather all necessary documents, complete paperwork and submit your final application, don’t wait until your waiting period is over to get started on your Record Suspension application. Call Pardons Canada today at (877) 929-6011 or contact us here.