Americans With DUI Convictions Being Turned Away By Canadian Border Guards

Vancouver Sun Reports That Restrictions on DUI Convictions May Be Loosened

The Canadian government has, for the past few years, conducted an unprecedented crackdown on Americans who have been convicted of drunk driving.  By law, U.S. citizens with DUI convictions can enter Canada only if certain conditions are met. They can enter if they have had 10 crime-free years since their conviction. If at least five years have passed, they can apply for a visa, but applications can take more than a year to process.  The last option is to apply for a temporary resident permit, but these are handed out only in “exceptional” cases.  In the worst cases, American have been caught off-guard by their inadmissibility and lost money, vacations and/or business opportunities.  David Goldstein, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada,said the number of American tourists who spent at least one night Canada has steadily fallen from 15 million in 2002 to 11.7 million in 2010. (As quoted in the Vancouver Sun article below).  Goldstein said it’s not just outdoor enthusiasts who are being turned away for long-ago DUI convictions, but business people who are coming to Canada to attend conferences.

Fearing the loss of business, and the possible impact on fishing and hunting tourism, Canadian tourism officials are lobbying for a relaxation of the rules.  As quoted in the Vancouver Sun, Canada Border Services Agency president Luc Portelance said CBSA and Citizenship and Immigration Canada were reviewing different options to relax some of the restrictions and “reduce bilateral irritants with the U.S.”  For instance, they are considering letting border guards to allow entry “of foreign nationals with less serious inadmissibilities, including some DUI cases.”  They are also looking at ways to improve communication with American travellers “caught off-guard by their inadmissibility” and to simplify relief options for them.  David Goldstein, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, said Friday he is encouraged the government is talking about loosening some of the rules.

The impact of the Canadian governments restrictive policies hits home in Ohio.  Canada is Ohio’s largest export destination, purchasing nearly 44% of all shipments from the state, over five and a half times that of the state’s next largest foreign market (Mexico) and more than all of the state’s next 18 most significant destinations combined. Furthermore, an estimated 267,500 jobs in Ohio are supported by Canada–U.S. trade. (Source)  According to Canadian government statistics, Ohio residents made 629,500 visits to Canada, spending $257 million.  As entry into Canada is important to Ohio residents, fighting a DUI has become a vital component of international business.  If you are facing a DUI arrest, contact Charles M. Rowland II at (937)318-1384 or 1-888-ROWLAND.  You can also visit www.DaytonDUI.com or follow developments in DUI law on www.Facebook.com/DaytonDUI.