Write your Member of Parliament and the Minister of Public Safety
We need folks to reach out to their Members of Parliament, calling on them to raise the critical issue of record suspensions with the Minister of Public Safety. Not sure where to begin? Find your MP and their contact information using the House of Commons website. And check out our template letter, which you can customize to explain why this issue matters to you.
Take take the Fresh Start Pledge
Sign below to show your support for legislation that will amend the Criminal Records Act in a comprehensive, evidence-based, rights-respecting manner.
Key aspects we are looking for in a bill:
- Get rid of the application process. The current application-based system is unnecessary – it is cumbersome, complicated to navigate, and inaccessible to the most marginalized groups of people.
- Make sure the system combats systemic discrimination. Anyone who has finished their sentence and completed the waiting period without new convictions should be eligible for a record suspension. While focusing on new convictions isn’t perfect, other possible considerations – including things like no police contact or withdrawn charges – would significantly entrench systemic discrimination and disproportionately disadvantage individuals from marginalized communities.
- Shorten the timelines. Currently people are required to wait far too long (five or ten years after completing their sentence) before they can get a record suspension.
- Make it a comprehensive system that applies to all offences. There is no evidence that a history of certain types of offences makes it more likely that an individual will commit similar acts in the future. Current categories of exclusion (eg. sex offences) are based on stigma, not evidence. Community safety would be best served by ensuring people have access to jobs, housing and stability. And applicants to high risk positions would still have their records unsealed through vulnerable sector checks.
Spread the word on social media
You can use your social media platform to raise awareness about this issue and about Fresh Start’s advocacy. Download our ready-to-use graphics and text for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For added impact, consider tagging your Member of Parliament and the Minister of Public Safety in your post.