Government of Canada to help more Canadians obtain record suspensions with support for community groups
February 3, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario
There are countless Canadians who’ve served their sentences and are living law-abiding lives, yet continue to face stigma and barriers because they still have a criminal record. Furthermore, lingering criminal records have led to the overrepresentation of Indigenous, Black and other racialized individuals in our criminal justice system. That’s why the Government of Canada is taking action to help more people break free of this stigma by making record suspensions fairer, cheaper and more accessible to everyone.
To help more Canadians benefit from record suspensions and move on with their lives, the Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, today announced new support for organizations that assist in obtaining suspensions. This call for applications for a new contribution stream within the Grants and Contributions Program to National Voluntary Organizations involves federal funding of $18 million over the next four years, which will go to organizations active in corrections, conditional release and community reintegration.
This funding will help community-based organizations support those applying for record suspensions in navigating the process, ensuring they have access to the right information and resources. It will also help reduce reliance on some private, for-profit companies that can give misleading information and charge high fees. This call for applications is open until March 18, 2022
Today’s announcement builds on the Government of Canada’s progress in tackling systemic inequities in the criminal justice system. On December 21, 2021, it announced the reduction of record suspension application fees from $657.77 to $50. The government also continues to explore the automated sequestering of some criminal records for those living crime-free, in consultation with provinces, territories and municipalities, as well as other key criminal justice stakeholders.
“For too many law-abiding Canadians who’ve served their sentences, a criminal record carries a stigma that can block them from housing, employment, education and more. Helping more of them obtain a record suspension removes a major barrier that stands in the way of fully reentering society. This is just one of the many ways that we’re making our communities safer through a justice system that’s more effective and fair for all.”
- The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety
Record suspensions help remove the stigma of a criminal record so that people with criminal records who have completed their sentences and are living law-abiding lives can access meaningful employment, housing, education, and volunteer opportunities, which are key to safe and successful reintegration as productive members of society. This improves public safety through reduced re-offending and victimization.
A person can apply for a record suspension directly with the Parole Board of Canada. They do not need to use a lawyer or third party service provider.
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety
Public Safety Canada
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