Criminal Records Legislation Changes Coming into Force before July 5 2010

By Author: Admin | July 13, 2010

Some persons seeking immigration to Canada have had a criminal conviction while  in Canada.  For such people, a pardon may be the appropriate remedy.  Guest blogger Lesley Atkinson of Canadian Pardon Service describes the recent legislative developments related to  Pardons under Canadian law.

On June 17, federal MP’s voted to pass a portion of a bill that will amend the part of the criminal records legislation regarding the granting of pardons. These amendments are intended to make it more difficult for individuals with criminal records to obtain a pardon. Some of the major clauses in the new criminal records legislation are:

  1. The National Parole Board will be given the power to reject a pardon application if granting the pardon would bring the administration of justice into disrepute
  2. Individuals convicted of ‘serious, violent crimes’ will now be required to complete a conviction free period of at least ten years before they can become eligible to apply for a pardon
  3. The term ‘pardon’ will remain unchanged for the near future

These amendments to the criminal records act were rushed through the parliamentary system because the government unofficially made it a goal to prevent Karla Homolka from becoming eligible to apply for a pardon on July 5, 2010. In order to achieve this, the Conservatives were forced to split the original criminal records bill into two portions; thus a portion of bill C-23 became C-23A (the bill that was passed on June 17) and the remainder of the original bill became C-23B. Bill C-23B has been given to the Committee for Public Safety and National Security, where an in depth evaluation of each clause will take place by experts before a report is created for parliament when it reconvenes in September.

What are the Immediate Effects of the Amendments to the Criminal Records  Legislation?

As soon as this bill receives Royal Assent by the Governor General, it will become law. This will immediately give the National Parole Board more discretionary power, and increase eligibility time frames for those convicted of serious crimes. On June 17, 2010, bill C-23A was given to the Senate and is expected to be passed to the Governor General within days or weeks, soon after which it will become law.

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