OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 05/24/13 -- Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this Press Release.
Despite recent legislative changes which resulted in the word "pardon" becoming "record suspension", Canadians aren't likely to adopt the new terminology in their everyday language, a pardon and waiver CEO said Thursday.
"It's just a funky name for pardon," said Chris Heringer, CEO of Pardon Applications of Canada, a private firm which processes pardon & U.S. waiver applications for Canadians. "The change in terminology has only caused confusion," he added.
On March 13, 2012, the Conservative government passed a controversial Omnibus Crime bill, more formally known as the Safe Streets & Communities Act, which among other changes tweaked the name of a pardon to a "record suspension". The new terminology is supposed to better represent the actual result of a pardon, which is the suspension of a criminal record held separate from publicly visible charges.
But some feel the true reason for the change was an attempt to show more respect to the victims of a crime, who may not feel that their offender should ever be "pardoned", a term which implies complete exoneration.
Whatever the reason, Heringer noted that the term "pardon" is likely to remain the common vernacular, whereas the meaning of a "record suspension" is somewhat ambiguous.
"Canadians understand the concept of a pardon. It suggests forgiveness -- a fresh start," said Heringer. "And those are two of the most common reasons that an individual with a criminal record decides to take this step."
Other changes in the pardon process as a result of the 2012 Crime bill included stricter eligibility criteria and longer wait periods. For example, an individual with a criminal record containing a summary conviction must now wait a minimum of five years following completion of any court imposed penalty (such as fines, jail time or probation) before applying. Previously, it was three years.
In addition, offenders of a sexual nature against minors are now permanently ineligible to apply for a record suspension, with only a few exceptional circumstances.
Heringer suggested that french speaking Canadians have proven a change in pardon terminology won't necessarily be integrated into everyday language, even after the passing of time. As evidence, the most correct french term for a pardon is "demande de rehabilitation", but instead it's more commonly referred to as "demande de pardon".
"Sometimes in an effort toward political correctness in our language, I wonder if we go too far," said Heringer.
It is estimated that more than 5 million Canadians have a criminal record. Individuals can find out whether they qualify for a record suspension by obtaining a free qualification email report, available on the Pardon Applications of Canada website, http://www.pardonapplications.ca.
"Call it a pardon, or call it a record suspension. Whatever your choice, it still remains an important opportunity for closure and peace of mind for Canadians seeking forgiveness and a second chance at their criminal record," said Heringer.
"But we still think the word pardon is simple, concise language."
To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20130524-CRIM800.jpg
Pardon Applications of Canada
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