Canada needs to reform the Criminal Records Act – now.

In 2015, Canada elected a federal government that promised comprehensive reform to our criminal justice system. In January 2016 the Minister of Public Safety announced that the government would consider meaningful reforms to the Criminal Records Act. It is 2023 – and we are still waiting for the promised changes. And in the meantime, tens of thousands of Canadians have continued to carry the unnecessary burden of an old criminal record. It stops them from getting further education, jobs and stable housing. It widens the net of systemic discrimination, deepening inequality. And it prevents people from moving on and rebuilding their lives, harming individuals, families and communities. 

The Canadian government needs to support people in their efforts to move beyond their past. We are calling on the government to transition to a spent regime – automatically removing the burden of a criminal record for access to basic employment and housing if individuals have successfully completed their sentence and lived in the community for years without new criminal convictions. It would make our communities safer, and increase stability, community connection and hope for tens of thousands of people across the country.

This is Liana

Liana freed herself from alcoholism years ago. But the fallout from one night of drinking more than a decade ago just won’t let go.

This is Kimberly

Kimberly left behind everything she knew to start a new life after decades of physical abuse. But her traumatic history included a criminal record that created roadblocks to moving on.

This is Lyne

Lyne kicked a devastating drug addiction and now helps others in recovery. But a criminal record from her past is still holding her back.

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