In response to several inquiries, TIAC wishes to provide clarification on the new reasonable admissibility policy adopted Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and communicated to Canada Border Services Agency officials at ports of entry to Canada.
Under the previous policy, prospective visitors with minor convictions (e.g. mischief or DUIs) could not enter Canada without a Temporary Resident Permit costing $200 and requiring an application in advance. This was particularly a concern for tourism businesses in the outdoor/adventure and business meetings & conventions segment, where the refusal of one person in a party could lead the entire party to cancel their travel plans.
Under the new policy adopted on March 1, 2012, visitors with minor convictions can have their Temporary Resident Permit issued at the point of entry, immediately and without the administration fee, provided that the individual had received no term of imprisonment as part of the sentence and have no other convictions that would prevent entry into Canada.
A Temporary Resident Permit issued in this case is valid for one visit only. To be admissible on subsequent visits, foreign nationals should contact CIC for potential mechanisms to overcome their inadmissibility on a permanent basis.
Official CIC Policy Bulletin: An operational bulletin (#389) was circulated in February 2012 outlining these changes and can be accessed here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/bulletins/2012/ob389.asp
Should tourism operators wish to provide potential visitors with a quick overview of the changes, this FAQ from the CIC may prove useful: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?q=143&t=8