It may just be that the Canadian justice system could include more people in the process of rehabilitation and reform by seeing that they are guided through the pardon system and motivated to become productive citizens more efficiently. The system for discharging former convictions leaves the onus solely on the released offender to take care of the proceedings. This article will explore ideas that could result in a greater awareness of this privilege and services to assist them. Perhaps there would be less recidivism if loans and counseling were available to make sure everyone has a chance to get their pardon as soon as they are eligible.
Those who have been incarcerated or been assessed fines or probation for criminal offences are left with a criminal record that can affect future employment and ability to travel. If there is a job for which you must be bonded, the criminal record will prevent you from being hired. While it is true that most people who managed to get into trouble aren't executives, if they were they wouldn't be able to sit on a board of directors. They wouldn't be able to buy a franchise or obtain a liquor license to open a restaurant or a bar. There is even difficulty enrolling in an education program.
There are two respective waiting periods to apply for a pardon after the sentence has been completely satisfied: five years for Indictable Offences and three years for the less serious Summary Offences. The reason that counseling and assistance for getting Canadian pardons should be available for borderline offenders is that it will provide less opportunity for another slip-up that would result in another charge, especially for those who may have some resentment towards society if they feel shut out. It doesn't take much for a flash of temper to ignite some situation out of proportion.
Criminals who have been guests of the state for any length of time usually have a different perspective on how they should be treated so there should be a social worker or other third party assigned to notify the offender that the waiting period is up and that assistance is available if the fee is the only problem. It may be that they haven't been told of the benefits of asking for the pardon.
There are many pardon services companies in operation to do the work and streamline the application. It would seem logical that the fees on applications collected by the National Parole Board could go back into looking for more people to pardon as soon as possible, even if they have to lend them the money. This could create a greater percentage of former offenders with clear records who are ready to go full steam into any work they like. Moreover, they may need to travel out of the country to work and require a U.S.A. entry waiver to cross the border or go through an airport.
Of course a pardon is not an automatic right but a privilege that must be earned. If some flexibility was put into place however, it could make a positive difference in hundreds of lives. Part of building a career is motivation and not everyone can be self-motivated, they often need a hand up.