OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 04/05/13 -- Editors note: There is a photo associated with this press release.
Facebook and other internet ads which suggest a fast approaching deadline for Canadians to apply for a pardon are a complete "fabrication", according to an Ottawa firm who completes pardon and waiver applications nationwide.
"We're talking about a small number of unscrupulous individuals," said Chris Heringer, CEO of Pardon Applications of Canada Ltd. "Since the government made changes with respect to pardons, we've definitely seen misleading ads claiming that pardons are going away. It's a fabrication intended to instill urgency toward those with a criminal record," he added.
The government changes refer to Bill C-10, the controversial Omnibus crime bill passed on March 12, 2012. Among the many elements of the bill, the term "pardon" became "record suspension", and both the wait period to apply and application fee were increased.
But despite ads to the contrary, no specific removal of pardons or deadline to apply has ever been announced.
"We get calls daily from Canadians asking if it's too late to apply," said Heringer, adding that like any other service industry, there are those that try to take advantage using dishonesty and fear.
But Heringer says Pardon Applications of Canada (www.pardonapplications.ca), a private firm he co-founded in 2011, offers free qualification reports and honest communication. The company has assisted more than 5,000 Canadians toward obtaining a pardon. Another 4,000 Canadians have used the company's services to secure travel freedom to the United States with an I-192 application, more commonly known as a "US Entry Waiver" or just "Waiver".
A pardon, or "record suspension", seals an individual's criminal record, placing it separate from publicly visible criminal charges. Once pardoned, the typical applicant may experience relief from the barriers and stigma associated with having a criminal record in areas such as employment, travel, and volunteerism.
According to the Parole Board of Canada (the government body which makes independent decisions regarding parole, clemency, and record suspensions), over 450,000 Canadians have received a pardon since 1970, with a whopping 96% still in force today. Since a pardon is usually revoked should the individual reoffend, the statistic demonstrates that the vast majority of pardon recipients remain crime free. In other words, the system works.
Heringer suggested that although there's no official deadline to apply for a pardon, Canadians shouldn't procrastinate in taking the first step.
"Canada offers a unique opportunity not available for many around the world - a legitimate second chance at a criminal record," he said. "The vast majority of applicants we serve are good people who made a mistake. These are people that are remorseful, who want to put their past behind and go forward as law abiding citizens," he added.
To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20130404-CRPphoto1.jpg.
Pardon Applications of Canada
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