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Pardon process faster for convicts who have paid more - Curtain Wall Glass Manufacturer by grass lawn

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Pardon process faster for convicts who have paid more - Curtain Wall Glass Manufacturer by
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Pardon process faster for convicts who have paid more - Curtain Wall Glass Manufacturer

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Canadians looking to get criminal pardons are getting unfairpreferential treatment if they've paid more for the service,critics say. A national pardon services company wrote to Public Safety MinisterVic Toews on May 28. It complained that the Parole Board of Canadawas giving priority to applicants who had paid heftier feesintroduced earlier this year, and not responding in a timely mannerto the "substantial backlog" of applications about22,500, the government admits submitted before the fee increase. "One can only imagine the outcry that would occur, if, forexample, municipalities gave preferential access to municipalservices to residents who paid higher property taxes because theylive in more expensive homes," wrote Azmairnin Jadavji,president of Pardon Services Canada, a Vancouver-based company thathelps individuals with their applications.

Back in February, the fee for applying for a pardon or what thegovernment now calls a "record suspension" quadrupledfrom $150 to $631. The government said at the time that the costincrease was needed to address workload increases and ensure thesustainability of the pardons program. But the fee increase has resulted in a two-tier system thatbenefits those who applied under the more expensive fee structure,according to Pardon Services Canada. The company says clients who filed applications prior to the feeincrease have had to wait as long as 18 months to have their caseassigned to a parole officer, while clients who paid the higher feehave waited as little as two months.

"Applicants for record suspensions can face serious prejudiceif their applications are not dealt with in a timely way,"Jadavji wrote in his letter to Toews. "Job applications, andthus employment opportunities, can be lost, and the applicants canalso be deprived of the ability to travel abroad." Caroline Douglas, a spokeswoman for the Parole Board of Canada,confirmed Thursday that those who paid the higher fee are gettingtheir applications processed more quickly. That's because new "service standards" were adopted whenthe $631 fee was introduced. She said there is currently a backlogof 22,500 applications under the old fee structure.

Julie Carmichael, a spokeswoman for Toews, said the government isexploring giving a partial credit to those who paid the $150 feebut who wish to resubmit their applications under the higher fee. "The fact remains that record suspensions are not aright," she said. Carmichael also took a swipe at Pardon Services Canada, saying thatthe company's claims on its website that its "tried-and-testedmethods" and contacts with police agencies and with the ParoleBoard of Canada "ensure that you receive the fastest servicepossible" are false. While a pardon doesn't completely expunge a criminal record, itdoes keep that record separate from the database used to conductcriminal record checks.

An individual can be become eligible for a pardon if they havecompleted their sentence and shown that they have obeyed the lawfor a prescribed number of years. Under Bill C-10, the government's omnibus crime legislation passedearlier this year, the waiting time got longer five years forthose convicted of summary offences and 10 years for all indictableoffences. Also, those convicted of sex crimes against children are no longereligible to receive a pardon. The changes were prompted by revelations in 2010 that former juniorhockey coach and serial sex offender Graham James had received apardon. That pardon has since been revoked.

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