foreign national

Weed the North 2 - Update on the DUI Immigration Policy

As cannabis becomes legalized in Canada, the new Driving Under the Influence (DUI) laws will mean much harsher immigration penalties for permanent residents and foreign nationals (see here for our previous newsletter explaining some of these changes).

We have received an update from the Minister regarding how the new laws will be applied to people who had received DUIs before the new DUI laws come into effect on December 18, 2018.  We've put together a video here to explain some of these changes. 

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 inquiries@lmlawgroup.com.

Weed the North

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:

Permanent Residents

  • 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.  

Foreign Nationals

  • 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.

Foreign Nationals

  • 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 inquiries@lmlawgroup.com.

Case Study: Airline agents who go rogue: What to do if it happens to you

Air Canada Agent who takes on the role of a CBSA officer

We have been representing a family whose troubling case has been featured in the media. This family has been torn apart because in transit to Canada, an Air Canada agent thought that it would be a good idea to "red flag" the family and convince CBSA to cancel their visas.

Here is the story on

City TV

Although this situation is very rare, it could happen to anyone who is travelling to Canada as a foreign national. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some steps that you can take to protect yourself and your family:

1. Ask to speak with the agent's supervisor or manager. Air Canada agents are not authorized to assess your entry into Canada. If you already have your visa, ETA or other required authorizations issued by the government of Canada they cannot deny you entry to Canada. Their managers should know this and stop this kind of behaviour.

2. Ask and write down the names of the agents and any immigration officials that they claim to have spoken to. It will become very important in the future if you need to investigate into the situation.

3. Speak to an immigration lawyer while you are there to have them speak with the officers to resolve the situation.

4. Document everything. Write down what was said or better yet, videotape it.

For more information on how to deal with a situation that you or someone you know have encountered at the border, contact us at (416) 548-9101 or at  inquiries@lmlawgroup.com .