The federal fee to apply for a criminal pardon will drop to $50 from almost $658 as of the new year.
The move announced today fulfils one element of a promise by the Liberals to improve the system by making it easier and less expensive to obtain a pardon, also known as a record suspension.
The government says in addition to the $50 processing fee, applicants are responsible for any additional fees to obtain information needed for their application, such as fingerprints, court documents and police checks.
However, the government says it will provide $22 million over five years to community-based organizations to offer support services to help people complete record suspension applications and increase awareness of these services.
The government also plans to spend money on program modernization for the Parole Board of Canada, including development of a new online portal to make the application process simpler and quicker.
A bill that was introduced in June, but died with the dissolution of Parliament at the summer election call, proposed to undo measures brought in by Stephen Harper's Conservatives that made people wait longer for a record suspension.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2021.