Hello, I'm Bill Blair, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
Today I was proud to stand in the House of Commons and introduce our government's Pardon Reform Bill.
When passed, this Bill will allow people with criminal records to request pardons far sooner – instead of waiting five years, people with summary conviction offences will be able to apply for pardons at three years. And those with indictable offence convitions will now have to wait just five years before applying.
We are also proposing to significantly reduce the application fee for a pardon so that all Canadians with criminal records will have equal and fair access.
Allowing people to get pardons quicker helps them reintegrate into society, and it improves public safety through reduced re-offending and victimization.
However, for those with convictions for the most serious offences – sexual offences against children, terrorism sentences over 10 years, or for life or indeterminate sentences – they will contiunue to be ineligible to apply for criminal records pardon.
Approximately 10% of all Canadians have a criminal record, and those criminal records serve as a significant barrier to opportunities from employment, education, and housing.
The legislation recognizes the need to reduce the stigma of a criminal record so that individuals who have served their sentences and are living now, as law-abiding citizens can successfully reintegrate into the community. These measures will make Canada a fairer and safer society for everyone.