Can I Enter Canada With a Criminal Conviction?

31st May 2012 Comments Off on Can I Enter Canada With a Criminal Conviction?

Last updated on March 2nd, 2020

As published in the May Canadian Immigrant magazine:

In November 2011, the Auditor General of Canada Michael Ferguson released a report criticizing the Canadian government for having what he essentially described as a completely inadequate screening process for detecting people who pose a security risk to Canadians.

As one might expect, this did not go over too well with a Conservative government that spent much of the autumn session pushing a public safety agenda. It responded to the auditor general’s report by promising to comply with his recommendations, and stating that it had already begun to make significant investments to improve security screening. Previously, people with criminal convictions occasionally entered Canada undetected. Border officials would also often let them into Canada on a short-term basis without requiring much paperwork. Now, both of these scenarios are likely to become less common.

It is, therefore, important that people who have been convicted of a criminal offence determine in advance whether they will likely be prohibited from entering Canada.

 Will you be inadmissible to Canada?

If a conviction exists, then it is necessary to determine whether the conviction’s equivalent offence in Canada would be a summary, hybrid or indictable offence under an act of Parliament. Then, one must determine when the individual’s sentence was completed, and whether the offence is one such that passage of time nullifies the inadmissibility.

 Consequences for common offences

Here are immigration consequences for some of the more common offences that people have. In general, offences involving the operation of a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol will render persons inadmissible to Canada for a period of 10 years following the completion of the sentence.

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