Statement from Minister Goodale on the Passage of Bill C-93 in Parliament

Published: June 21, 2019

The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, issued the following statement, “People who have a criminal record only for simple possession of cannabis should be allowed to shed the burden and stigma of that record, making it easier to get a job, get an education, rent an apartment, travel, volunteer in their community and simply move on with their lives.

The passage of Bill C-93, An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis, marks an important step in closing the gap on the social injustices caused by the past criminalization of cannabis. Once in effect, this legislation will expedite the pardons process (also known as a record suspension) for people convicted only of simple possession of cannabis, taking the unprecedented step of completely eliminating the $631 application fee and the up to ten-year wait period.

This new law removes many obstacles and expenses that could prevent someone convicted of simple possession of cannabis from getting a pardon. Given the enforcement of cannabis laws in the past had disproportionate impacts on marginalized communities, particularly visible minorities, Indigenous people and those in our most vulnerable neighbourhoods, it is important for the process to be as simple, straightforward and accessible as possible.

By streamlining the current record suspension process for those convicted only of simple possession of cannabis, we are providing important relief and removing barriers to reintegration so that these individuals can benefit from the same opportunities as other law-abiding citizens.”