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Canadian Immigration Services 

Canadian Visa Refusal for Impaired Driving Penalties

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Canadian Visa Refusal for Impaired Driving Penalties

Jade Calver

Impaired Driving Penalties

With the legalization of recreational cannabis use in Canada, the federal Government has warned newcomers about impaired driving penalties. “On Dec. 18, new impaired driving penalties take effect, and the maximum penalties for most of these offences will increase to 10 years from five.” This change has serious consequences for foreign nationals.

According to the Government of Canada, “committing a serious crime that would be punishable by a maximum prison term of at least 10 years in Canada” constitutes reason for inadmissibility. This means that a person may be denied a visa, an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), refused entry to, or removed from Canada.

After December 18th, any immigrants who commit one of these offences will fall under the definition of serious crimes.  Furthermore, “immigration officials could rule a person is inadmissible to Canada for ‘serious criminality,’ even if an impaired driving offence took place in another country.”

What does this mean for Foreign Nationals, Permanent Residents, and Temporary Residents?

Permanent residents could lose their status and face deportation; Temporary residents (i.e. visitors, international students, foreign workers, etc) may not be able to enter or stay in Canada; and Refugee claimants may be ineligible to have their claim referred for a refugee hearing. It’s also important to note that Government fees for processing a rehabilitation request for an impaired driving offence will rise from $200 to $1,000 CAD.

Remedies for Refusal

Depending on the crime that was committed, when it, and how the offender has behaved since, a foreign national may still be able to come to Canada. When we assist an individual who has been deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada, we file an application for criminal rehabilitation; an application for reconsideration or an appeal; or an application for a Temporary Resident Permit. In order to overcome inadmissibility, the applicant must:

  • convince an immigration officer that you meet the legal terms to be deemed rehabilitated, or

  • applied for rehabilitation and were approved, or

  • were granted a record suspension or

  • have a temporary resident permit.