The Parole Board of Canada has started to tackle a backlog of nearly 22,000 pardon applications.
The board is not expected to clear the backlog for at least another two years, however.
All of the files in the backlog pre-date the March 2012 Omnibus Conservative crime bill, where the Harper government quadrupled the pardon application fee to $631.
Those who applied under the higher fee are at the front of the line, having their criminal record suspensions handled within months.
The backlog is mainly the result of a massive pardons crackdown pardons crackdown, sparked after the case of a hockey coach being pardoned after being convicted of sexually assaulting young players.