NEWS RELEASE: Senate passes bill to expedite pardons for those with simple cannabis possession records
Senate passes bill to expedite pardons for those with simple cannabis possession records
OTTAWA, June 20, 2019 – Last evening, the Senate of Canada passed a bill that would provide a no-cost, expedited record suspension, or pardon, as they are commonly known, for individuals who have been convicted of simple possession of cannabis.
Bill C-93, An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis, passed without amendment. This legislation follows Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, and recognizes the tens of thousands of individuals who have been convicted of possessing a substance that is now legal and strictly regulated in Canada.
“Under this legislation, individuals affected by these convictions will have the option to shed the burden of stigma, as well as to eliminate barriers to meaningful employment, education, housing, the ability to volunteer in their communities and will now have a greater ability to travel,” Dean said during his third reading statement. “We are obligated as Parliamentarians to ensure members of our communities, particularly those who are disproportionately affected by criminal records, are empowered to participate equally in our society.”
The now-approved pardon process under Bill C-93 will be a simplified and expedited version of the existing records suspension process that has been in operation for many years. This applicant-driven process would allow individuals to apply for a records suspension as long as they have completed their sentence, and where the only conviction on their criminal record was simple possession of cannabis.
Under Bill C-93, both the pardon application fee of $631, and 5-10 year wait times, will be waived.
During third reading debate, Dean commended Senate leaders, members of the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, and Senator Carignan, the bill’s critic, for their work in ensuring a thorough and expeditious review of the bill.
Director of Parliamentary Affairs, Office of Senator Tony Dean