Zone Stories: ParDONE is Creating Better Access to Justice
ParDONE is a social venture out of the Legal Innovation Zone, designed to give people with a criminal record a second chance at success by reducing the cost, and time, of the record suspension application. To achieve this opportunity for better access to justice, ParDONE automates the record suspension process, while keeping the client updated at every step of the process.
About 10 per cent of Canadians—over three million people—have a criminal record, many due to minor infractions. A suspension doesn’t erase a record, but can make it easier to get a job, travel, and succeed in society. Under the last government, the cost of applying for a suspension quadrupled from $150 to $631 to ensure full cost recovery. Even if applicants can afford the $631 fee, the procedure is daunting. Most individuals can’t afford to take days off to obtain police and court records in person.
ParDONE’s product serves both individuals in metropolitan and rural communities, and is accessible to anyone with an internet connection. This venture has identified indigenous people with criminal records as a large market segment that they want to support. Essentially, this legal platform streamlines the process of acquiring a criminal pardon, giving individuals a second chance at life at a greatly reduced fee – and all with the help of technology.
Founded by Geevith Rubakumar – a master’s student at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada, currently incubating within Ryerson University’s Zone Learning Department – this venture was chosen as one of six finalist teams in the Ontario Access to Justice Challenge, the aim of which is to improve access to justice for all Canadians. Due to ParDONE’s success in the Ontario A2J Challenge, a group of remote First Nations have reached out to see if they could partner in using ParDONE’s technology to help with some of their challenges around access to justice.
If you want to learn more about Geevith’s justice platform, you can find more information here. Curious about Ryerson’s Legal Innovation Zone? Find access to our available Zone Learning resources, here and here.