The Canadian Parliament has recently passed legislation legalizing some possession of cannabis (marijuana) and also to increase the punishment for driving under the influence. These laws will come into effect on October 17, 2018 and will have harsh penalties for permanent residents and foreign nationals who have DUI or possession of "illicit" cannabis.
We have put together a video here to explain some of these changes. Click here
Some of the most relevant changes include:
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Penalties for DUI offences have increased from 5 to 10 years, making it a "serious criminality" offence. This change will have the following consequences for immigrants:
- If convicted outside of Canada, they would lose their status and have no right of appeal.
- If convicted inside Canada, and a sentence of six months or more is imposed, they would lose their status and have no right of appeal.
- If convicted inside Canada, and a sentence of less than six months is imposed, they would lose their status, but be allowed to appeal to Immigration Appeal Division.
- If convicted inside Canada, any DUI conviction will render them inadmissible and they would likely have to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit or a permanent Record Suspension to allow them to remain in Canada.
- If convicted outside of Canada, they will not be eligible for deemed rehabilitation and will have to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit to enter Canada on a temporary basis or make a permanent Rehabilitation application
Possession of Illicit Cannabis
Although possession and production of cannabis under 30g for personal use will now be legal, certain types of cannabis products will remain prohibited. These are outlined in the act as 'illicit cannabis,' and include cannabis that is obtained from a vendor that is not authorized under a Provincial Act. For example, buying cannabis from a private dealer in Ontario would be a criminal act as only the government of Ontario is able to distribute cannabis in Ontario. It is also very possible that possession of cannabis outside of Canada can be interpreted as possessing illicit cannabis.
For Permanent Residents
- If convicted inside Canada, and a sentence of six months or more is imposed, they will lose their status, with no right of appeal.
- If convicted inside Canada a conviction will render the person inadmissible. The person would likely have to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit or Record Suspension.
- If convicted outside of Canada (or even if it is determined that they committed the offence outside of Canada), they will need to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit, Rehabilitation, or in certain cases be eligible for Deemed Rehabilitation.
If you would like to learn more about how these changes may affect you please feel free to contact us at (416) 548-9089, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.