I just want to say here today that it is excellent that we are developing a community where there are people exchanging information and helping each other work through what can be a very challenging and patience-testing endeavour. Many of you are here and have sought out information because, for various reasons, you need to be free and able to travel to the U.S. and may have found the process quite confusing and overwhelming.
If one has reasonable attention to detail, and carefully follows the process outlined, one can successfully apply for and receive a U.S. waiver of inadmissibility on their own, as I did. It is equally valid that one can also choose to have this performed or assisted by others who can and have had success as well.
I would like to point out that the time that RCMP fingerprinting is being processed remains an issue, as a few others have also observed. Personally, it took me from just after Boxing Day last year to May of this year to receive my fingerprint record which is a prerequisite for the U.S. Waiver of Inadmissibility application. (and such record cannot be older than 15 months as it is upon application). Others have had even worse results for waiting for this product from the RCMP, despite the new electronic fingerprinting initiative being the norm now. The fact that this delay creates a bottleneck that rivals or exceeds the waiting time that the Admissibility Review Office (ARO) imposes upon us is something I don't find acceptable.
One of my pet projects for the future is to see if perhaps we can show the people responsible that the timely access of our criminal records in order to apply for waivers and record suspensions (pardons) is very important. Furthermore, this also ties in to the changes some of us would dearly like to see in the area of record suspensions where it concerns the Parole Board of Canada, the fee schedule, the guidelines and so on. I have and will continue to make it known that we would like to see some common-sense and evidence-based reforms in these areas, and with the elections in Canada behind us now, there may be some people who would hear us out and think things through.
The issuance of pardons and/or waivers, I'm positive that most of us agree upon, should never be a political or partisan issue. We should view these matters with a long-term perspective for the greater good.
Some of us perhaps have made regrettable mistakes in the past in our lives, however, we have learned from them and we are now leading responsible lives, contributing to our communities and our economies each day as taxpayers and citizens. In the principles of rehabilitation and restorative justice aims, sensible policies around these issues not only benefit us, but the greater societies in Canada and our friends and neighbours (and in many cases family) south of the border also.
I remain, as I am able, willing to work toward these mutual interests and look forward to contributing and learning here. Thank you!