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The Cost and Controversy of a Pardon

*****CLICK HERE FOR MORE G20 INFO / LINKS / VIDEOS***** Feb 25, 2011 CBC’s fifth estate G20 expose www.cbc.ca Featuring several of my videos including Scary Cop Lady. Facebook group: Canadians Demanding a Public Inquiry into Toronto G20 www.facebook.com Canadian Civil Liberties Association ccla.org Sign the petition for a PUBLIC INQUIRY. Amnesty International www.amnesty.ca Sign the petition for a PUBLIC INQUIRY. NEWS Jul 5, 2010 Niagara at Large: Police beat 57 year old amputee, rip out prosthetic leg, detain for 27 hours niagaraatlarge.com Jul 5, 2010 Winnipeg Sun: detained women strip searched by male officers, threatened with rape www.winnipegsun.com Jul 2, 2010 Toronto Star: Yonge St. store owners call police, told “protect yourselves” www.thestar.com Jun 30, 2010 Toronto Sun: Police given “do not engage” orders in response to Black Bloc vandalism www.torontosun.com Jun 29, 2010 BlogTO: Photos from inside detention centre www.blogto.com Jun 29, 2010 Back of the Book: Detailed firsthand account of arrest and detention backofthebook.ca Jun 28, 2010 The Link: Details of horrific conditions in detention centre www.thelinknewspaper.ca Jun 28, 2010 Toronto Star: stories about arrests and police abuse www.thestar.com RELATED VIDEOS Jun 29, 2010 Firsthand account of women strip searched by male officers, threatened with rape www.youtube.com Jun 28, 2010 Police violently snatching huddling bystanders at Queen/Spadina www.youtube.com Jun 26, 2010 Police violently rounding up
Video Rating: 4 / 5

The Cost

An individual can apply for a pardon with the Parole Board of Canada (a federal agency responsible for making pardon decisions under the Criminal Records Act (CRA)) by filling out a tedious amount of application forms which are available from the Parole Board.  The pardon application fee is .00.  On top of the application fee there are other associated costs such as fingerprinting fees, search fees, local police record check fees and court information search fees.  The total cost for a pardon can amount to approximately 0.00 and up depending on the number and type of convictions the individual has.  For the process to be carried out smoothly, all required documentation must be collected and submitted prior to the documents’ expiration date; this can be a difficult task to coordinate.

The National Parole Board wants to triple the cost of a pardon, increasing the cost from .00 to 0.00 plus all associated costs. The fee was last changed in the mid 1990’s and it is no longer covering the administrative costs, therefore diverting money from other NPB resources.  It was recently addressed to the Senate committee that there is a need to hike the fees sometime this fall or winter.  At this time it appears that a vast majority of pardon applications being processed are granted, yet the costs associated with processing these pardons has increased.  The processing costs have increased due to economic factors such as inflation.  The volume of pardon applications has also increased in the last three years.  The increase in demand derives from the scrutiny placed on an individual’s past when: applying for jobs, securing a loan, volunteering, getting certain certifications and furthering one’s education.  Another thing to keep in mind is that the Federal government is funding this organization with taxpayers’ money.  In order for the PBC to operate at a self sustaining level the price of pardons will have to increase.

The Controversy

A pardon is the forgiveness of a crime and the penalty associated with it.  The function of a pardon is to separate judicial records of convictions from other criminal records.  This gives law abiding citizens the opportunity to reintegrate into Canadian society.  Under the CRA, when a pardon is given, it removes all information about the conviction from the Canadian Police Information Centre.  This is the active police database which holds all files of those who have a criminal record.  However, a pardon does not erase the fact that an individual was convicted of a crime; it simply “vaults” the record/information in an inaccessible database.  If a pardoned individual is convicted of a new offence, this information may result in the reactivation of their criminal record in the CPIC, which may lead to their pardon being revoked. 

One of the most controversial factors regarding the pardon process in Canada is that an individual may or may not be eligible.  The dependent variables for the pardon being granted are solely based on eligibility. Once an individual has demonstrated that they have fulfilled their debt to society or are considered “deserving” of a pardon by the PBC they may apply. 

The PBC considers an individual eligible

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