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Canada to treat impaired driving as a serious criminal offence

With the amendments to the Canadian criminal code having come to effect on December 18, impaired driving will now be treated as a serious criminal offence. The punishment for the offence has also been increased to a maximum sentence from five to 10 years. Impaired driving is the term used in Canada to describe the criminal offence of operating or having care or control of a motor vehicle while the person’s ability to operate the motor vehicle is impaired by alcohol or a drug.

The new amendment will have major implications as far as immigration candidates and permanent residents are concerned. As per the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) of Canada, a permanent resident or foreign national is deemed inadmissible to Canada if he or she is convicted of an offence that is considered a “serious criminality.”
It means:

  • Permanent residents found guilty of impaired driving could lose their status and face deportation
  • Inadmissibility will never be resolved by the passage of time
  • Offences could carry the stigma of serious criminality

From December 18 onwards, if a permanent resident is convicted of impaired driving in Canada or abroad, he/she may lose permanent resident status and face deportation. They will no longer be eligible for deemed rehabilitation (Deemed rehabilitation means people with a single, non-serious offence on their record will no longer be considered inadmissible to Canada after a period of 10 years has elapsed from the completion of their sentence.) Instead, such individuals will have to apply for criminal rehabilitation. Canada is also going to raise the fee for criminal rehabilitation from $200 CAD to $1000 CAD. Deciding whether a candidate must be considered for criminal rehabilitation depends largely on the discretion of the immigration officer. When the offence is considered serious, the immigration officer may conclude that the individual with such an offence is not a good candidate for criminal rehabilitation and reject the application.

As impaired driving is considered a serious offence, all those with such an offence on their record would be better consult a Canadian immigration lawyer before entering Canada.

Contact us for more information on criminal inadmissibility and any assistance on Canada migration

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