New impaired driving and marijuana-related penalties could affect your immigration status

In October 2018, Canada made marijuana (cannabis) legally available to adults under strict new laws; imposing tough new penalties on those who drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including cannabis, or commit cannabis-related crimes.

Cannabis-related crimes include illegally producing, distributing or selling cannabis and/or illegally importing or exporting cannabis or cannabis-related products across Canada’s international borders. Most cannabis-related crimes have a maximum penalty of 14 years.

On December 18, 2018, the impaired driving penalties took effect with most impaired driving offences now considered serious crimes in Canada. The maximum penalty for most impaired driving offences increased from five to ten years. The impact of these new penalties on permanent and temporary residents could be significant.

How you could be affected

If you commit an impaired driving or a cannabis-related crime, you could face a fine, criminal charges or jail. You may also be found inadmissible to Canada for serious criminality regardless of whether the crime happened inside or outside Canada.

  • Permanent residents may lose their status and have to leave the country
  • Temporary residents (including visitors, international students and foreign workers) may not be able to enter or stay in Canada
  • Refugee claimants may not be eligible to have their claim referred for a refugee hearing
  • Appeal rights for permanent residents and foreign nationals, including sponsored members of the family class, could also be affected.

Learn more about Canada’s inadmissibility rules and find out how to appeal a removal order.

Source: Canada.ca

~Wakenya Canada

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