Federal government reduces fee for applying criminal record suspension

Processing firm sees increased interest in record suspension application following fee reduction

Federal government reduces fee for applying criminal record suspension

The Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) has announced that the federal government reduced the fee for applying criminal record suspension from $657.77 to $50, effective January 1.

The significantly lower fee is part of the federal government’s commitment to improve access to record suspensions, especially for low-income individuals, according to the PSPC.

“By lowering the high cost of applying for a record suspension, we are removing a barrier to the successful reintegration of people with criminal records who have completed their sentences and are living law-abiding lives,” said Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino.

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A record suspension, formerly pardon, allows individuals convicted of a criminal offence to have their criminal record kept separate and apart from other criminal records. But these individuals must have completed their sentence and demonstrated themselves as law-abiding citizens.

In addition to the fee reduction, the government will provide $22 million to community-based organizations over a five-year period to help people complete their record suspension applications.

“This will help ensure people who apply for record suspensions have access to the right information about the record suspension process and reduce reliance on third-party, for-profit companies that charge high fees,” the PSPC said.

Meanwhile, the Pardon Applications of Canada, a nationwide legal processing firm, has seen an increased interest from the public seeking to apply for record suspension following the fee reduction.

“Our daily volume of phone calls, emails and pardon requests has exploded,” said Pardon Applications of Canada founder and CEO Chris Ketko.

According to Ketko, the reduced fee is feasible, especially for applicants hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic or grappling with employment issues.

“The reduction of the government’s filing fee for pardon applicants across Canada is significant,” Ketko said. “We are ecstatic for this change, which will benefit Pardon Applications of Canada applicants both current and future.”

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