Record Suspension: What You Should Know About the New C-93 Bill

Here’s good news to those with a criminal record for possession of marijuana. Thanks to the recent passing of Bill C-93 in line with the ground-breaking Cannabis Act, you’ll have a no-cost, expedited record suspension for such an offence. 

In the next section, we will discuss the newly passed bill and talk about what it means for pardons or record suspensions. Here’s what you need to know about bill C-93:

Bill C-93 in a Nutshell

In line with the recent legalization of marijuana through the Cannabis Act, bill C-93 was initially proposed by Minister Ralph Goodale. The bill sought to grant pardon to those who have a previous offence for simple possession of cannabis. It endeavours to provide record suspension at no cost and the soonest possible time. The Senate officially passed it on June 19, 2019. As of this writing, it has received Royal Assent and will soon be put into effect.

Record Suspension or Pardon

What exactly is record suspension? Also known as a pardon, a record suspension is a privilege granted by the Canadian government to seal criminal records from public visibility. When the Canada government has approved your pardon, your criminal record will no longer be exposed publicly. This implies that your criminal record will not serve as an obstacle to your employment, financial, volunteer, and even travel opportunities. You can start all over with a clean slate as a productive member of society.

The Importance of Bill C-93

Now you may ask what bill C-93 has to do with a pardon. The bill is significant for a number of reasons. First, it is reflective of the changing values of Canadian society, particularly when it comes to the use of cannabis. Second, given that marijuana has been legalized for recreational use, then it’s logical to grant pardon to those who have previously been convicted of it. Third, thousands of people will benefit from this free, expedited process. This will help them start all over, with nothing keeping them from finding employment and housing. They will also be able to access certain financial, volunteer, and travel opportunities.

Application to Marijuana-related Convictions

It is worth noting, however, that this bill only applies to the simple possession of Marijuana. This means that those charges related to marijuana trafficking will not qualify for a pardon under this bill. But if you’ve been involved in trafficking of cannabis, you’re still entitled to apply for a pardon, should you wish to do so. The $631 government filing fee and waiting period for the application process will apply as usual.

Waiving Fees, Fines, and Other Costs

Here’s more good news: if you’ve been convicted of simple possession of cannabis, then the $631 fee associated with pardon application as well as the fines or victim surcharges involved will be waived. 

Now, if the fees and fines are associated with other convictions, apart from the cannabis possession charge, then you will still have to pay for those. 

Furthermore, any third-party costs will still be your responsibility, regardless if the $631 fee is waived or not. Typically, these costs include getting a criminal record, court documents, local police record checks, and other pertinent documents.

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