The Omnibus Crime Bill C-10 passed on March 13, 2012 (Royal Assent) by the Parliament of Canada (Conservative Government0, resulting in PBC (Parole Board Canada) updates to their website on March 14 2012 advising the deadline to submit under the old Canada Pardon rules was March 12, 2012 (meaning mail had to be post-marked that day).
New Crime Bill C-10 Rules Have Had a Serious Affect on Canadian Pardons
All Canadian Pardon applications post-marked on or after March 13 2012 are subject to the new rules Bill C10 Canada Rules. The new rules, generally described (there may be exceptions), are:
- increased waiting periods (5 years for summary offences and 10 years for indictable offences);
- some people are banned from having their record suspended; and
- the term Canadian Pardon has changed to ‘Record Suspension’.
Here is an article for your review (I have highlighted the relevant pardon information in yellow).
Conservative Omnibus Crime Bill
Conservatives Push Ahead With Crime Legislation
By Susan Munroe, About.com Guide
The federal Conservatives have made anti-crime measures a cornerstone of their political and legislative agenda since they were first elected in 2006. Although they have passed other anti-crime legislation, now that they have a majority government and can more easily get legislation passed, they have wrapped up nine anti-crime bills that didn’t get passed in previous sessions into this single 100-plus-page omnibus legislation. The bill covers laws on drug possession, young offenders, pardons, conditional sentences, minimum and maximum sentences, human smuggling, sexual exploitation, support for victims of terrorism, and transferring Canadian offenders back to Canada.
These may all sound like good things, but there are a lot of details in a bill of this size. The government has limited debate on the bill by using time allocation to push the bill through more quickly. Although they allowed quite a few witnesses to appear, briefly, before the committee examining the bill, they accepted just one single minor amendment at committee stage in the House. The standard response to any criticism or suggestions on the serious topics in this massive piece of legislation is the glib refrain that the critic is “soft on crime” or “advocating for criminals.
In the 2011 Canadian federal election, the Conservatives promised to pass this legislation in the first 100 sitting days of the 41st Parliament, which gives them until March 16, 2012.
Summary of Omnibus Crime Bill
The main measures included in the Omnibus Crime Bill are:
- Protecting Children From Sexual Offenders – Imposes tougher mandatory minimum and maximum penalties for sexual offences against children under 16. Also creates two new offences involving conduct that could facilitate the commission of a sexual offence against a child.
- Increasing Penalties for Serious Drug Crimes – Amends the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to set mandatory minimum penalties for drug offences carried out for the purposes of organized crime or targeting youth. Also doubles the maximum sentence for the production of marijuana and other Schedule II drugs from seven to 14 years and provides higher maximum penalties for date-rape drugs. Makes exemptions for drug treatment programs.
- Tougher Sentences for Violent and Repeat Young Offenders – Emphasizes the protection of society as a fundamental principle of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Expands the definition of “violent offence;” requires the Crown to consider an adult sentence for youths 14 to 17 years old convicted of most serious violent crimes; and requires the consideration of lifting the publication ban on names of young offenders convicted of violent offences. Also prohibits the imprisonment of young offenders under 18 in adult correctional facilities.
- Restriction of Use of Conditional Sentences – Conditional sentences are sentences of less than two years that can be served in the community (house arrest for example.) These amendments to the Criminal Code provide a new longer and clear list of offences for property and other serious crimes for which conditional sentences would not be available.
- Increasing Offender Accountability – Amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to increase the rights of victims of crime to participate in parole decisions. The offender disciplinary system is modernized and a requirement is introduced to have a correctional plan for each offender. The amendments also increase the maximum number of full-time Parole Board of Canada members from 45 to 60.
- Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes – These amendments to the Criminal Records Act are designed to prevent the most serious criminals from getting a pardon in Canada. The term “pardon” is replaced with the term “record suspension.” Ineligibility periods before an application can be made for a pardon (record suspension) are increased, and some people will be ineligible to apply for a record suspension at all, including those convicted of a sexual offence with a minor.
- International Transfer of Canadian Offenders Back to Canada – These amendments add criteria for the Minister of Public Safety to use when deciding if a criminal should be granted a transfer back to Canada.
- Supporting Victims of Terrorism – A new Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and amendments to the State Immunity Act allow victims of terrorism to sue in a Canadian court individuals, groups or foreign states believed to be responsible for acts of terrorism with a connection to Canada.
- Protecting Vulnerable Foreign Workers – Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act make it possible to deny work permits to foreign nationals at risk of being exploited or abused. Those who might be vulnerable include victims of human trafficking, exotic dancers or low-skilled laborers.
Canada Online Guide
COMMENTARY ON BILL C10 AND CRIMINAL RECORD SUSPENSION ELIGIBILITY
In addition to longer waiting periods, some people no longer qualify to apply for record suspension (formerly called Canada Pardon). Here is an excerpt from the Criminal Record Act which defines waiting periods as well as the types of offences which disqualify a person from applying for a record suspension:
Restrictions on application for record suspension
4.(1) A person is ineligible to apply for a record suspension until the following period has elapsed after the expiration according to law of any sentence, including a sentence of imprisonment, a period of probation and the payment of any fine, imposed for an offence:
(a) 10 years, in the case of an offence that is prosecuted by indictment or is a service offence for which the offender was punished by a fine of more than five thousand dollars, detention for more than six months, dismissal from Her Majesty’s service, imprisonment for more than six months or a punishment that is greater than imprisonment for less than two years in the scale of punishments set out in subsection 139(1) of the National Defence Act; or
(b) five years, in the case of an offence that is punishable on summary conviction or is a service offence other than a service offence referred to in paragraph (a).
(2) Subject to subsection (3), a person is ineligible to apply for a record suspension if he or she has been convicted of
(a) an offence referred to in Schedule 1; or
(b) more than three offences each of which either was prosecuted by indictment or is a service offence that is subject to a maximum punishment of imprisonment for life, and for each of which the person was sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more.
(3) A person who has been convicted of an offence referred to in Schedule 1 may apply for a record suspension if the Board is satisfied that
(a) the person was not in a position of trust or authority towards the victim of the offence and the victim was not in a relationship of dependency with him or her;
(b) the person did not use, threaten to use or attempt to use violence, intimidation or coercion in relation to the victim; and
(c) the person was less than five years older than the victim.
Onus — exception
(4) The person has the onus of satisfying the Board that the conditions referred to in subsection (3) are met.
Please feel free to post your comments on how the Crime Bill C-10 Passed by Parliament has impacted your Application for Canadian Pardons.