John Howard Society launches new Record Suspension program

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The John Howard Society of Saskatchewan, which has offices in Prince Albert, recently developed a Record Suspension program.

The Record Suspension Services program is a free service available to all Saskatchewan residents. Trained caseworkers offer support and guidance to people with eligible criminal records as they navigate the complicated application process.

JHSS CEO Shawn Fraser is excited about the opportunities this program will open for people.

“Criminal records are more common than people imagine. There are many people from all walks of life in our society who have an outstanding criminal record.” Fraser said in a release.

“It impacts everything from employment to housing to travel. People deserve a chance to move forward in life. When someone’s debt to society has been repaid, they should have an opportunity to move forward in life.”

Angel Genereux is the Record Suspension Caseworker supporting the program in Regina and the surrounding area.

Genereux went through the record suspension process earlier in life. She understands the barriers faced by individuals living with a criminal record and the positive impact a record suspension can have in someone’s life.

Genereux explained that prior to obtaining her record suspension, she would avoid applying for jobs that required a criminal record check, which severely limited her opportunities.

“Getting my record suspension has allowed me to pursue opportunities in my chosen field and not have to face the stigma of explaining myself to others for volunteer positions. It’s a really great feeling seeing that blank page the first time you request a criminal record check after having your record suspended,” she said.

A Record Suspension, formerly a ‘pardon’, does not erase the fact that a person was convicted of a crime. It only stops that information from being shared. This helps people with criminal records increase their access to employment and educational opportunities. It also helps people secure rental housing and provides them with the ability to travel outside of the country.

Once an application is granted, information about the conviction will be taken out of the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC).

A Record Suspension has no effect on prohibitions such as restraining orders, firearm restrictions and driving restrictions. Most provincial and municipal criminal justice agencies also limit access to their records once they are told that a Record Suspension has been ordered.

While JHSS offers the record suspension services program free of charge to all Sask residents, there are fees associated with the application process, such as fingerprinting, court documents, that will be the responsibility of the participant.

The average cost to those applying for a record suspension is approximately $245, but this varies depending on the circumstances.

An individual can apply for a Record Suspension if they were convicted of an offence in Canada under a federal act or regulation of Canada as an adult, or in another country and were transferred to Canada under the Transfer of Offenders Act or International Transfer of Offenders Act.

An individual cannot apply for a Record Suspension if you have been convicted of a sexual offence involving a child or if you have four or more indictable offences that came with a prison term of two years or more.

The John Howard society of Saskatchewan has offices in Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Regina and the program is open to all residents in Saskatchewan.

The Record Suspension Services program operates Monday through Friday between 9am-4pm. Learn more about our Record Suspension Services program at the following link: