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What is record suspension?


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Latest : Pardon change? : CTV National News: Daniele Hamamdjian report

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews introduced legislation on Tuesday that could overhaul how pardons are issued to convicted criminals. Some believe the move is just a knee-jerk reaction to the pardon granted to convicted sex offender Graham James.

Latest : Pardon change? : CTV News Channel: Jonathan Rosenthal, lawyer

A criminal lawyer with Beyond Borders explains how after a certain amount of time, a pardon has traditionally been given almost automatically to convicted criminals, regardless of the offence.







What is Bill C-23?

Bill C-23 was introduced by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews on Tuesday May 11, 2010. This bill (also known as the “Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes Act”) will have serious effects on the Criminal Records Act and pardon legislation. Bill C-23 will phase out the use of the term “pardon”, and replace it with “record suspension”. Bill C-23 also outlined various changes to “record suspension”, ranging from changes to the pardon legislation to how the National Parole Board conducts and reports its activities. These will be outlined in more detail below:

Changes Bill C-23 will make to Pardon Legislation

  • Some individuals may find it impossible to get a pardon/record suspension if Bill C-23 is passed.
  • Individuals with multiple, violent or certain sexual convictions may find it very difficult to be granted a record suspension.
  • The required wait period for eligibility may increase from the current 3-5 years to 5-10 years.
  • Bill C-23 will give the National Parole Board greater power to consider additional factors when deciding whether to grant a record suspension.


Bill C-23 was introduced on May 11, now it must pass through various other readings, changes, debates and votes before it is set before the Senate, and brought into force by the Governor General. Because of this, there is no exact date that Bill C-23 can be predicted to come into force. We will make every effort to keep this website up to date on the ongoing changes, please check back frequently!