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A Mindful Halloween

Did you know a criminal record can affect your permanent residency status?

Halloween can be a time to have lots of fun and dress up in a costume, whether to go trick-or-treating or partying. With all the creepy decorations, the free candy, and the pumpkin-flavoured food, it’s easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget about important legal issues.

Many parties will serve alcohol and, with the recent legalization of cannabis, drugs. However, it is important to note that alcohol and drug-impaired driving will be considered a “serious crime” as of 18 December 2018. The maximum prison sentence for impaired driving will increase from five (5) to ten (10) years once the amendments come into force in December.

What does this mean for foreign nationals (i.e., workers, students and visitors) and permanent residents in Canada?

It means that if you get convicted of impaired driving, regardless of the length of the imposed sentence, you will be inadmissible to Canada and possibly face deportation. Under Canadian immigration laws, a foreign national or permanent resident becomes inadmissible to Canada if he or she is convicted of an offence that is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years.

It is also important to note that once the changes come into effect, you cannot be deemed rehabilitated (with the passage of time) for being convicted of impaired driving. In other words, to overcome your inadmissibility to Canada, you will likely be required to apply to the Parole Board of Canada for a record suspension – a process which can be expensive and lengthy.

With that in mind, Azzi Law wishes you a safe and spooky Halloween!


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