Collateral Damage: Canada’s New Impaired Driving Sentence to Affect Immigrants

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Impaired Driving Sentence in Canada Affects Immigrants

Following the amendment of the criminal code for Canada through Bill C-46, the maximum possible sentence for impaired driving has been increased.

A lot of people are glad that more has been done against impaired driving. However, this is set to be collateral damage to both the temporary and permanent residents in Canada.

The vital relationship between the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in Canada and the Criminal Code is that an increase in the maximum possible sentence would mean a corresponding increase in the IRPA’s perspective of the offense, moving it from being considered under the criminality level to the dangerous criminality level.

Irrespective of the particular penalty meted out to a person; where it occurred; or the certainty that it occurred; a conviction in impaired driving can heighten the Temporary and Permanent Residents chances of being removed from the country. It can also make it very difficult for convicted foreigners to get into the country.

Impact of new Impaired Driving Maximum Sentence on Permanent Residents

As it stands, the offense of Impaired Driving does not affect the immigration status of Permanent Residents. This was not the case last year, before 18th December. A permanent resident, convicted of Impaired Driving faced the risk of deportation and revocation of status.

In addition to that, because IRPA does not permit Permanent Residents to appeal for a decline in Serious Criminality, the issue becomes even more complicated as the penalty for impaired driving has been increased. Every Permanent Resident coming into Canada through every of the available immigration programs available is affected under this same policy.

If the affected persons have intentions of coming into Canada again, they would not be given any extra privileges by the government other than what is given to Newcomers. They will be subjected to the same eligibility criteria used for those from other countries.

Impact of new Impaired Driving Maximum Sentence on Temporary Residents

It has been a norm that all temporary residents convicted of impaired driving would be stripped of their temporary Residency and also sent out of the country, no matter what penalty was imposed on them. The term “Temporary Residents” comprise of every foreigner in Canada who is not a permanent resident. The list ranges from Foreign workers to students, and even tourists from other countries. Like in the case of the Permanent Residents, they will be subjected to the same eligibility criteria used for first-time immigration applicants if they return to Canada afterwards.

Impact of new Impaired Driving Maximum Sentence on Foreigners

Any foreigner who has a record of conviction for impaired driving before applying to go to Canada will not be granted admission irrespective of the country of conviction. Last year, if the foreigners needed entry as Temporary Residents, they were to make use of the “deemed rehabilitation” policy provided by the IRPA if they had completed their probationary or sentence terms at least ten years earlier. However, in the new maximum sentence, they are to obtain a Temporary Resident Permit or Rehabilitation to get in.

There is still hope for those who completed their terms sooner than that. Ex-convicts who served their terms five years ago and above must apply under IRPA for rehabilitation and those who did their terms less than five years ago should apply for Temporary Resident Permit (TRP).

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