OTTAWA, Oct. 10, 2017 /CNW/ - Record suspensions benefit public safety by removing barriers to reintegration for law-abiding Canadians with previous criminal records. Today, the Government of Canada released "What We Heard" summary reports that detail the results of public consultations on the Criminal Records Act and the record suspension user fee.
These consultations are part of the Government of Canada's commitment to review the changes made to our criminal justice system over the past decade. An inaccessible record suspension can be a significant barrier for those trying to reintegrate into society as law-abiding citizens. Without a record suspension, a person with a criminal record who has lived crime-free since serving their sentence can face difficulties obtaining employment, securing adequate housing, volunteering, or travelling abroad.
The consultations on the Criminal Records Act received about 1,200 online submissions and input from over 70 stakeholders. The record suspension user fee consultation received about 1,600 responses. Some of the key findings include: the majority of participants indicated that the record suspension application fee is too high; the current waiting periods are too long; the application process is unnecessarily complex; and the purpose of the program should be to help people move forward, making it easier for them to gain employment.
The feedback received by Canadians during these consultations will be used to help guide planned reforms.
"The changes made over the past decade to the record suspension process have created significant barriers for those with criminal records who are now living crime-free to pursue employment and become fully contributing members of society. I am grateful to those who took the time to participate in these consultations, which will help inform changes to the Criminal Records Act. We want to ensure that the waiting period, fee and purpose of the program are fair, proportionate and productive. Our priority is to protect Canadians, and we will do that by implementing evidence-based criminal justice policies that support rehabilitation, prevent crime and victimization, and keep our communities safe."
- The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
- Approximately 1 in 10 Canadians have a criminal record.
- The Criminal Records Act is a law that provides for the suspension of records for people who were convicted of a criminal offence, but have completed their sentences and demonstrated they are law-abiding citizens.
- Between 2010-11 and 2015-16, the user fee for record suspensions increased from $50 to $631, and applications decreased by 61% from 32,000 to 12,400.
- Public Safety Canada Criminal Records Act Consultations – What We Heard Summary Report
- Public Safety Canada Criminal Records Act – Online Consultation Detailed Report
- Parole Board of Canada User Fees Consultation – What We Heard Summary Report
- Parole Board of Canada User Fees – Online Consultation Detailed Report
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For more information, please visit the website www.publicsafety.gc.ca.
SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
For further information: Scott Bardsley, Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, 613-998-5681; Media Relations, Public Safety Canada, 613-991-0657, firstname.lastname@example.org; Media Relations, Parole Board of Canada, 613-960-1856, email@example.com