The coalition for change

The Fresh Start Coalition welcomes support from civil society organizationspeople with lived experience of the impact of a criminal record and community members who are passionate about criminal record reform.

Civil Society Organizations

The Coalition is made up of 85+ civil society organizations that have come together in support of implementing a spent records regime in Canada. Organizations that have signed on as supporters have publicly committed to the Coalition’s policy positions, and can choose to receive email updates about our work. They may also choose to engage in particular advocacy opportunities.

The Coalition’s day-to-day work is guided by our Steering Committee, which includes people with expertise in Canada’s criminal record regime through their own lived experience, as well as representatives from a range of stakeholder organizations (social service agencies, community-based organizations, and advocacy groups) that include, work with, or provide support to folks with criminal records. The Steering Committee meets regularly and provides updates to the broader Coalition.

Know an organization that might be able to support the work of the Fresh Start Coalition? Contact us for more information about formally joining the Coalition or serving on the Steering Committee.

Individuals with Lived Experience

We recognize that people with criminal records are the best experts on their own experiences. The Community Expertise Committee (CEC) provides an avenue for people with lived experience to guide the Coalition’s work and ensures the voices of folks who are most impacted by Canada’s criminal records regime remain at the forefront of our advocacy.

The CEC includes up to ten members who have personal experience of the impact of a criminal record. Members are compensated for their time and expertise.

Members help review and share thoughts about Coalition materials, ensuring they reflect their own concerns and needs; participate in outreach and advocacy meetings with government officials; and engage with Coalition partners and stakeholders. For more details, check out the CEC Terms of Reference.

Interested in getting involved? If you have personally experienced the impact of a criminal record in Canada, and you are interested in contributing to our advocacy, contact us with a few sentences about yourself and why you are interested in joining the CEC.

Community Members

There are several ways you can support the Fresh Start Coalition as an individual or as a grassroots collective of community members passionate about criminal record reform. Check out our Show Your Support page for some ways to get involved in advocacy.

About the Coalition

The Fresh Start Coalition includes individuals with lived experience, mental health organizations, criminal justice and legal associations, leaders in law enforcement, anti-poverty advocates, violence against women organizations, and Black- and Indigenous-led groups. The diversity of voices supporting this campaign is a direct reflection of the breadth of harm being caused by the current system.

Supporting Organizations

  • Aboriginal Legal Services 
  • Alliance for Healthier Communities
  • Alter Justice
  • Assaulted Women’s Helpline
  • Association des avocats de la défense de Montréal-Laval-Longueuil
  • Association des avocats de la défense de Québec
  • Association des avocats et avocates en droit carcéral du Québec
  • Association des services de réhabilitation sociale du Québec (ASRSQ)
  • Association québécoise des avocats et avocates de la défense
  • Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
  • Bethesda House
  • Black Community Action Network Peel
  • Black Legal Action Centre
  • British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
  • Canadian Association of Black Lawyers
  • Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
  • Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs (CAPUD)
  • Canadian Association of Social Workers
  • Canadian Civil Liberties Association
  • Canadian Council of Muslim Women
  • Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)
  • Canadian Mental Health Association National
  • Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario
  • Canadian Prison Law Association
  • Cannabis Amnesty
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
  • Centre for Justice Exchange
  • Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) 
  • Clinique juridique de Saint-Michel
  • Criminal Lawyers’ Association
  • Elizabeth Fry Society of Cape Breton
  • Elizabeth Fry Society of Kamloops
  • Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia
  • Elizabeth Fry Society of New Brunswick
  • Elizabeth Fry Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Elizabeth Fry Society of Northeastern Ontario
  • Elizabeth Fry Society of Northern Alberta
  • Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa
  • Elizabeth Fry Society of Quebec
  • Elizabeth Fry Society of Saskatchewan
  • Elizabeth Fry Toronto
  • Elliot Lake Women’s Group Inc.
  • Empowerment Council
  • Grassroots NB
  • Halton Community Legal Services
  • Health Justice Program
  • HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario
  • HIV Legal Network
  • Hope 24/7
  • Huron Women’s Shelter
  • Inasmuch House & Women’s Services, Mission Services of Hamilton
  • Indigenous Bar Association
  • John Howard Society of British Columbia
  • John Howard Society of Canada  
  • John Howard Society of New Brunswick  
  • John Howard Society of Ontario
  • John Howard Society of Quebec
  • John Howard Society of Saskatchewan  
  • Keep6ix
  • Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic 
  • Lanark County Interval House 
  • Ligue des droits et libertés
  • Luke’s Place
  • Mothers Offering Mutual Support (MOMS)  
  • Muskoka Parry Sound Sexual Assault Services 
  • Neighbourhood Legal Services 
  • Network of Women with Disabilities NOW 
  • Niagara Community Legal Clinic 
  • Ontario Alliance to End Homelessness  
  • Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses
  • Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres 
  • Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women
  • Peel Alliance to End Homelessness
  • Prisoners’ Legal Services  
  • Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan
  • Queen’s Prison Law Clinic  
  • Resolve Counselling Services 
  • Saint John Learning Exchange 
  • Saskatchewan Literacy Network
  • Social Economy Through Social Inclusion Coalition (SETSI)
  • St. Leonard’s Society of Canada
  • Thunder Woman Healing Lodge Society  
  • Timmins and Area Women in Crisis 
  • Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project  
  • Victim Services of Durham Region 
  • West Island Black Community Association
  • Women & Children’s Shelter of Barrie
  • Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF)
  • Women’s Shelters Canada
  • YWCA Cambridge

Supporting Individuals

  • Brenda Young, Justice Director, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation
  • Mike Federico, former Deputy Chief, Toronto Police Service
  • Samantha McAleese, academic and researcher