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How to get a pardon in Canada – Step 6

Holliwood Pennsylvania’s Pardon Letter from, newest mixtape titled ShotGun SlowDance, background is a self portrait which is done by collage, pencil, thread, marker, and fresco. the Art is titled Oceanus End

At this point in the Canadian pardon application process, you have probably already filed your pardon with the National Parole Board of Canada, Pardons and Clemency Division.

Once your pardon has passed the initial screening process, you will receive a letter of Acknowledgement from the board. Your pardon application is now under review.

Unfortunately, this is often the longest part of the application process.

In this article, I want to discuss how to get your pardon fast-tracked through the application process.

There are several ways this can be done; most of them are trade secrets of pardon professionals, which we use to aid our priority clients to get ahead of the crowd. However, there is a way the average self-applicant can fast-track their pardon.

The quickest way to get a pardon for a typical self-applicant, is to apply for “urgency” status from the pardon board.

Unfortunately, in recent years, the Pardons board hast tightened up is internal policy for approving urgency status.

There are essentially three ways to obtain urgency status:

Humanitarian Grounds
Pending loss of employment
Pending loss of employment opportunity

1.      Humanitarian grounds for urgency

This is by far the most difficult way to get approved for urgency status. I once had a client who was outside of Canada and could not return due to his criminal record. At the same time, his Canadian wife gave birth to their daughter. He was not even allowed to meet his newborn daughter. I prepared a petition for urgency for his pardon, based on humanitarian grounds, so he could re-enter Canada to be reunited with his family. However, the board rejected this petition, because he was not a Canadian citizen! Humanitarian grounds only applies to Canadians.

Generally, the board will only grant urgency based on humanitarian grounds when failing to obtain a pardon urgently will imposed undue hardship on the applicant which is above and beyond that experienced by other pardon applicants, AND only when the hardship experienced exceeds that which should be naturally expected to result from having being convicted of a criminal offence. In my experience, it is especially this latter point which dooms applications for urgency based on humanitarian grounds.

Is is the board’s interpretation that most, if not all, hardship created by having a criminal record is to be expected. I believe this policy was adopted in an earlier time. Nowadays, with criminal record checks being essentially automated, and practiced as a course of business by more and more companies, the consequences of having a criminal record far outweigh those intended by the justice system when they created the criminal record systems. But that is my opinion. 

In my experience working on over 15,000 pardon applications, I have yet to see a single file which successfully qualified for urgency based on humanitarian grounds. You are far better off concentrating on the next two

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