1 in 8 has a criminal record. Let's Lift the Burden and make record suspensions free and accessible for law-abiding Canadians.

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1 in 8 Canadians has a criminal record, hindering their ability to
find employment, travel, or even just coach their kids’ soccer games. Lift the Burden, an advocacy campaign sponsored by Pardon Services Canada, aims to help erase the stigma of a past criminal record and advocate for legislative amendments to make record suspensions (formerly called pardons) fair, affordable and accessible to all Canadians.

For nearly 30 years, Canadians with a past criminal record, who were deemed by the Parole Board of Canada to have demonstrated good conduct, could apply for a record suspension for free, three or five years after they completed their sentence. Recent amendments to the Criminal Records Act have made it significantly more difficult for ordinary Canadians to receive a record suspension. Eligibility wait times jumped from three years to five years for summary offences, and doubled from five years to 10 years for indictable offences. At the same time, Parole Board filing fees increased by a whopping 1200% from $50 to $631 over a period of two years.

Together, by signing and sharing our petition, we can lift the burden for over 4 million Canadians whose futures don’t have to be limited by their past. 

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We believe that a record suspension is the last—but crucial—step in a fair and smart justice system. For over 45 years, record suspensions have been an effective tool to provide deserving Canadians a chance to put their past behind them. In fact, of the Canadians who have received a record suspension since 1970, 96% have not re-offended. That’s why we’re working to help lift the burden of deserving Canadians by advocating for timely and affordable access to record suspensions. 

  1. We want record suspensions to be free. We believe government should support the system as a societal benefit, as it did for nearly 30 years. Since 1970, record suspensions have proven to be a key tool in reducing crime, increasing employment and eliminating recidivism. 
  2. We want eligibility wait periods to be rolled back from five years to three years for summary offences and from ten years to five years for indictable offences.

Sign our petition today, and don’t forget to follow us throughout our campaign.



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