When a person has a criminal conviction, even a short ski trip to Whistler or a family reunion can be jeopardized.
I have had some Americans coming to Canada and have thought that a DUI was a minor or inconsequential offence and did not even consider the offence to be criminal, as in Texas. But not so in Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has a different view and the person is inadmissible until certain qualifications and time periods have been met.
Under the current Immigration regulations, if more than five years have passed from the end of the sentence, then the person is entitled to make what is called a Rehabilitation application. Rehabilitation is a term used by IRCC for a formal application to allow entry into Canada by overcoming a criminal inadmissibility. The formal application does require extensive information about the offence, the conviction, court records, letters of reference, security checks from all countries where the person has lived, as well as a copy of the charging statute.
The Rehabilitation application process can be found at the following CIC website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/rehabil.asp.
The same application form can also be used for what is called a Temporary Resident Permit, a special dispensation which allows a person to enter Canada despite the criminal inadmissibility.
Temporary resident permits allow officers to respond to exceptional circumstances while meeting
Canada’s social, humanitarian, and economic commitments.
An inadmissible person’s need to enter or remain in Canada must be compelling and sufficient
enough to overcome the safety risks to Canadian society. The degree of need is relative
to the type of case. Officers take into account:
- seriousness of the offence;
- chances of successful settlement without committing further offences;
- behavioural factors involved (drugs, alcohol);
- evidence that the person has reformed or rehabilitated;
- pattern of criminal behaviour (e.g. was the offence a single event and out of character?);
- evidence of completion of all sentences, fines or restitution;
- other outstanding criminal charges;
- restriction of travel following probation or parole;
- eligibility for rehabilitation or a pardon;
- time that has elapsed since the offence occurred;
- controversy or risk caused by presence of the person in Canada;
Such permits are entirely discretionary and the more information and documentation provided to prove the stability and character of the individual, the better are the chances of success.