October 29, 2018 – Canada’s federal government has warned new impaired driving penalties could mean temporary or permanent residents have to leave the country due to new criminal inadmissibility rules.
The warning comes after Canada made cannabis legally available, but at the same time imposed tough new penalties for those who:
- Drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or
- Commit cannabis-related crimes.
The impaired driving penalties take effect on December 18, 2018.
From this date, most impaired driving offences will be considered serious crimes, with the maximum penalty increased from five to 10 years.
Temporary or permanent residents guilty of an offence deemed serious criminality can be found inadmissible to Canada, regardless of where the offence happened.
- Permanent residents may lose their status and have to leave the country.
- Temporary residents (including visitors, international students and foreign workers) may not be able to enter or stay in Canada.
- Refugee claimants may not be eligible to have their claim referred for a refugee hearing.
- Appeal rights for permanent residents and foreign nationals, including sponsored members of the family class, could also be affected.
The change comes following the passing of Bill C-46 so that all impaired driving offences are considered ‘serious criminality’.
Under immigration law, ‘serious criminality’ offences can result in loss of permanent resident status.
When Could A Permanent Resident Lose Their Status for A DUI Offence?
Following the Bill C-46 changes, a permanent resident convicted for an impaired driving offence can lose their status and face deportation – even for a first-time DUI offence, no matter what the sentence.
What are other implications of Bill C-46?
- Permanent residents who are convicted abroad or who an officer believes has committed an impaired driving offence outside Canada will now be inadmissible for serious criminality. This means loss of PR status with no right of appeal.
- Persons with foreign impaired convictions will no longer be eligible for deemed rehabilitation.
- Persons previously deemed rehabilitated will no longer be so; they become inadmissible again.
- Sponsored relatives with an impaired conviction will not have a right of appeal from a refusal by an immigration officer on inadmissibility for an impaired offence.
- Principal applicants and accompanying dependents convicted of impaired offences may be inadmissible for serious criminality.
How to Overcome Canada Criminal Inadmissibility
In some cases, a person who has committed a lesser, non-serious crime can be considered deemed rehabilitated by the Canadian government and allowed to enter Canada.
Applicants or dependents with an impaired driving offence will need to wait 5 years from the date of conviction and conclusion of the sentence. They will then be required to apply for rehabilitation.
2) Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)
If an inadmissible person’s entry into Canada is deemed to be “justified in the circumstances”, they can be granted a TRP and allowed to enter Canada for a limited time.
A TRP will have a validity period of between one day and three years depending on the specific circumstances of the person applying for the TRP.
Interested employers: Kindly contact us here to receive further information.
Interested candidates: Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with our evaluation within 1-2 business days.
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