I have not made personal contact with any of the border crossing agencies yet, however I have looked the subject up on-line and it does indicate that if you have a DUI or other criminal convictions you would more than likely be deemed “criminally inadmissible”.
Canada is much stricter when it comes to allowing individuals with criminal convictions into their country than the United States.
The most credible information I reviewed came from the Canada Border Services Agency web-site.
I did see very similar information on web-sites from agencies that provide legal service for individuals seeking legal help to go through the process of gaining a waiver to the established rules by the Canadian government.
From what I have read; under Canada’s immigration law, if you have committed or been convicted of a crime, you may not be allowed into Canada or in other words, you may be deemed “criminally inadmissible.”
This includes both minor and serious crimes, such as:
- dangerous driving
- driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and
- possession of or trafficking in drugs or controlled substances
You can obtain a status known as “Deemed Rehabilitation”, under the means that enough time has passed since you were convicted of your crime which may no longer bar you from entering Canada.
You may be deemed “rehabilitated” depending on:
- the crime you committed
- how serious the crime was and how much time has passed since you completed the sentence imposed for your crime:
- 10 years for one indictable offence
- five years for two or more summary convictions
- whether you have committed one or more crimes and
- if the crime would be punishable in Canada by a maximum prison term of less than 10 years.
More information on what is deemed “rehabilitation” can be found here.
There also appears to be ways that someone with a criminal conviction can still enter Canada before the passing of the ten year period which includes that individual following the listed application procedures which can take up to a year to obtain approval from the Canadian authorities with no guarantees of being approved.
This application package includes:
- Document Checklist [IMM 5507] (PDF, 179.76 KB) May 2015
- Application for Criminal Rehabilitation [IMM 1444] (PDF, 1.18 MB) August 2012
- Use of a Representative [IMM 5476] (PDF, 648.31 KB) September 2015
- Instruction Guide [IMM 5312]
For applicants in the United States:
- Document checklist for applicants in the USA applying for Rehabilitation or Temporary Resident Permits (TRP) [IMM 5939] (PDF, 261.63 KB) June 2015
- Document checklist for applicants in the USA applying for an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) [IMM 5940] (PDF, 223.67 KB) June 2015
I think there is enough information here to confidently say that if you have a criminal conviction (that includes a DUI or DWI) in the last ten years you will more than likely be deemed “criminally inadmissible” to enter Canada.
It would not be advisable to try to enter Canada if you have ever been convicted of a crime.
If you have a criminal conviction, the individual should check with the Canadian authorities at the Canadian Border Services Agency to determine their eligibility to enter Canada as even after the ten years have passed, it would seem appropriate to do so prior to making any plans to enter Canada to be certain as to whether or not they would be allowed to enter the country.
Glen S. Aichinger, National Grid, Emergency Planning