Under the current system “pardons” are granted almost automatically. The new system would allow a “record suspension” in more limited circumstances – much more limited, in cases of serious crime – and it would make a record suspension impossible for anyone convicted of a sex offence against a child.

The proposed legislation would:

  • eliminate “pardons” and replace with a more restrictive and narrowly worded “record suspension”;
  • make those convicted of sexual offences against minors ineligible for a record suspension;
  • make those who have been convicted of more than three indictable offences ineligible for a record suspension; and
  • increase the period of ineligibility for a record suspension – to five years for summary conviction offences, and to ten years for indictable offences.

In addition, the proposed legislation sets out conditions that must be met to ensure a record suspension would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute. The onus would be on the applicant to show that a record suspension would help sustain his or her rehabilitation as a law-abiding member of society. The proposed legislation would also require the National Parole Board to submit a report each year with detailed statistics pertaining to the number of applications and the number of record suspensions granted. Justice Canada.