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.

Updates for 2018 Parent/Grandparent Sponsorship Program

The Parent and Grandparents sponsorship program re-opened for online expressions of interest from January 2 to February 1, 2018. On March 19, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) emailed out invitations to potential sponsors who were randomly selected to submit their sponsorship application.

Potential sponsors will have 60 days from the date of their invitation to submit a complete application.

Some key points to note:

  • Individuals who submitted the online form are urged to check their email inbox and junk mail, or to look up their unique confirmation number using IRCC's list of selected numbers here.  
  • Invitations are not transferrable; you cannot use an invitation to sponsor another parent/grandparent who was not listed in the initial online form.
  • It is vital to ensure that you provide proof of meeting eligibility criteria and that your application is submitted without any mistakes to avoid refused/rejected applications and thereby having to start again and re-enter the pool of interested sponsors.

Interested individuals who did not receive an invitation letter should continue to monitor their email for news on further draws. If IRCC does not receive 10,000 complete applications, additional potential sponsors will be invited to apply later in the year.

To speak with one of our lawyers to discuss your case, contact us at (416) 548-9101 or by email at inquiries@lmlawgroup.com.

Immigration Options for Skilled Individuals

As immigration options for skilled individuals become more restricted in the United States and Europe, Canada remains one of the most open immigration systems for skilled individuals in the G7.  

Some of the main routes for permanent residence in the Economic categories are listed below (see here for videos where we provide more details on some of these programs).

1. Express Entry Program.  This remains one of the most widely used programs for skilled individuals.  In order to get through the program, you have to first qualify to enter the online pool and then will compete with other candidates in the pool in order to obtain an Invitation to Apply.  

2. Provincial Nominee Programs.  All provinces in Canada now have their own programs for people who have job offers, education, businesses, or other ties to a province.

3. Self-Employed Program.  Talented athletes and artists may be able to apply under this category if they can show that they have been self-employed in their professions and will make a contribution to Canada.  

4. Caregiver Program.  Caregivers who have worked legally in Canada for two years caring for children, elderly, or disabled persons may be able to apply under this program.

5. Start-up Visa Program.  Entrepreneurs who have the support of a designated organization can qualify under this program.

6. Atlantic Pilot Program.  Workers who have job offers in one of the Atlantic provinces may be eligible to apply under this category.

To determine the best route for immigration for you or someone you know, contact us at (416) 548-9101 or at inquiries@lmlawgroup.com to book a consultation.

Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program to Re-Open in 2018

The Minister of Immigration has announced that the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship program will be re-opening in 2018. Similar to the new process introduced for 2017, potential sponsors will be required to first express their interest in sponsoring by submitting the online “Interest to Sponsor” form. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will then randomly select 10,000 potential sponsors and invite them to submit a sponsorship application within 90 days of selection.

Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada who would like to sponsor their parents or grandparents will be able to submit the online Interest to Sponsor form from 12pm EST on January 2 to 12pm EST on February 1, 2018.

To help ensure that only eligible sponsors submit an Interest to Sponsor form, IRCC has added additional questions to the 2018 form to assess the eligibility of potential sponsors.

To determine if you meet the qualifications to sponsor your parents or grandparents under this program, contact us at (416) 548-9101 or at inquiries@lmlawgroup.com to book a consultation.