New Pardon Reform Bill – Bill-C36Andrew Captan
The Liberal government has introduced a bill – Bill C-36 – which seeks to introduce significant reforms in the area of pardon law. The bill, as it stands, is nowhere near becoming law and is only at the first reading. Moreover, using history as a benchmark, one may wonder if the bill will make it anywhere close to becoming law in Canada.
If it ever does, there are some key changes to the law surrounding pardons that would take effect — changes that would, in my view, rectify some of the damaging amendments that the Conservative government introduced under the leadership of Harper.
One key change would be to reduce the period of pardon ineligibility from 5 years to 3 years for summary conviction matters, and from 10 years to 5 years for indictable convictions, effectively returning the numbers to the pre-Harper government changes. A further change would be to reduce the cost of a pardon application, making them as low as $50.