Skip to Content
clarence woodhouse outside court


Frequently Asked Questions

It can take a long time for the Case Review Process to start and be completed. If you need to contact Innocence Canada, please do so through Win Wahrer, Director of Client Services, by email at, or by phone at 416-504-7500 ext. 5.

No. Innocence Canada does not provide direct legal services. If you need a lawyer, please contact your provincial law society or legal aid. Once you have submitted your application, it will be placed on a waiting list until such a time as it can go through the preliminary review process. Please note that given the volume of applications, your case will likely be on the waiting for at least two years before the review process begins. If your case is adopted by Innocence Canada, then we will provide legal support in drafting a s. 696.1 application to the Minister of Justice.

Yes. All information received by Innocence Canada is kept confidential and cannot be disclosed to anyone without your consent. Innocence Canada can share information with other people and agencies involved in the case review process if you consent to sign an authorization form.

Once a person is convicted of a criminal offence, it is exceptionally difficult to overturn the conviction. At any stage of the case review, if it appears to Innocence Canada that there is no likelihood of finding new and significant evidence to support innocence, a decision will be made to change the status of the case from “Active” to “Inactive”. This means that Innocence Canada will not take any further steps in the case. But if new and important information that may support your innocence becomes available in the future, Innocence Canada may re-open your case.

Section 696.1 Application to the Minister of Justice

Section 696.1 of the Criminal Code gives the federal Minister of Justice the power to review a conviction to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the person is likely the victim of a miscarriage of justice. The section allows person who believes they were a victim of a miscarriage of justice can apply to the Minister of Justice to have their case reviewed. This is an “extraordinary” remedy. For an application to be successful it must be supported by new matters of significance. A new matter of significant is information that was not available at the time of trial and is relevant, credible, and could likely have affected the verdict at the time of trial.

The Minister of Justice has three options once an application has been submitted for ministerial review. One option is that they can dismiss your application. If that happens, no further steps will be taken on your case by Innocence Canada.

If your application is successful, the Minister can either order a new trial or a new appeal in the province in which you were initially convicted. Innocence Canada will then represent you at that trial or the new appeal. In some cases, the Crown may agree not to continue with your case, and you will no longer be convicted of that offence. In other cases, you may have a new trial or new appeal. Innocence Canada can represent you on that new trial or appeal.