On April 13, 2017, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-46, which reformed the Criminal Code transportation regime as promised in the 2015 Liberal platform. The bill passed Parliament on June 20, 2018 and received Royal Assent on June 21, 2018. The new law will better deter and detect drug and alcohol-impaired driving. However, TIAC is mindful that this law will affect some non-resident travellers.
The biggest change will be that foreign nationals with equivalent foreign impaired driving convictions would no longer be eligible for ‘deemed rehabilitation’. Essentially, where Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers used to be able to use discretion on the circumstances of the charges, they will now automatically be deemed inadmissible regardless of the circumstances. Because of this, tourism businesses who believe that this will impact their clients should make efforts to ensure that they are aware of the avenues they will need to take prior to travelling to Canada.
Under the new law subsection 320.19(1), the only avenue for rehabilitation available to a foreign national would be a formal application for rehabilitation, regardless of whether it is a single offence or the time passed since the offence. A foreign national could seek temporary relief by applying for a temporary resident permit (TRP). However, a higher level of ministerial authority – a superintendent at a port of entry (POE) – will be required and there is no guarantee that the TRP will be granted without the application for rehabilitation.
TIAC will continue to work with the CBSA and IRCC to help ensure that foreign visitors with convictions are informed of the new admissibility application process. We will monitor these reforms for negative impacts on our sectors, and will work with our partners and stakeholders to examine a reintroduction of “deemed rehabilitation” measures.