Friday, August 2, 2013

Oy Canada 2013, Getting into Canada After a New York DWI or DWAI

Is Molson really Canadian? Yes it is!!! from

Over the years I have written numerous blog posts on what can happen after a New York DWI or DWAI and visiting Canada. I thought Canada was taking a more civil approach in allowing in New Yorkers. They passed (more like giving a statement) the Tourism Facilitation Action Plan in 2012.

Called OB 389, this Canadian measure directed border officials to relax a bit on first time offenders from the States who did not pose a risk to Canada. see OB 389 here:

Operational Bulletin 389 - February 27, 2012

Cost Recovery Fee Exemption for Temporary Resident Permits Issued to Foreign Nationals who are Inadmissible on Criminality Grounds

This Operational Bulletin has expired.


A public policy was recently approved with respect to the entry of foreign nationals (FNs) who are inadmissible on A36(2) criminality grounds. Specifically, the policy allows the grant of a one-time fee exemption for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) for certain offences, including offences such as driving while impaired (also known as driving under the influence (DUI)).

This also related to our New York criminal DWI (driving while intoxicated) and non-criminal DWAI (driving while ability impaired)

With so many 2012 and 2013 article titles, like "Oh Just One Mistake, No Problem" or "Canada wants you now, so come visit, hunt, fish, and recreate" people were lead to believe getting into Canada was easy (or at least easier). BTW I love Canada, when I visit I always see it as such a friendly and clean country.

The 2013 Reality of Visiting Canada with a DWAI

I am fortunate to have clients who share their experiences. The following story is the from one of my clients. I had disposed of his case with a DWAI offense in early 2013, and he had a house in Canada. He lived in New York, worked in NY, but would vacation frequently in Canada. Imagine if he had to sell his vacation property because of a DW?

Larry, just wanted to bring you up-to-date on my status into Canada so you know it is possible with future clients.  I hired an Immigration Consultant to help me through the process.  He had a detailed list of information which I provided to them and then they wrote a letter to the Canadian Border Officer stating our position.  Our position was that since my conviction was for a DWAI that I should not be inadmissable (double negative = admissible).  If the border officer didn't agree, they asked that the officer give me a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) so I could go to my house (in Canada). 

 So a week before Memorial Day, which is always our first trip to our house, I went to the Peace Bridge to present my case.  The Border Officer I got was a nice guy, but very detailed.  He spent about 1 1/2 hours on his own comparing NYS law to Ontario law.  He said we presented a pretty good argument, but he did not agree with our position.  He said he wasn't going to send me back.  He said I did everything right.  I volunteered myself, put together all the information, and was well prepared.  After lots of note taking by him, pictures, finger prints, and about 4 1/2 hrs I walked away with a six month TRP.  He did not charge me for this one, but every year I have to reapply and pay $200 for the TRP.  After 5 years I can apply for rehabilitation and have the inadmissability removed.  I have had no problem crossing the border since, other than the last conversation I had with the officer was a little confusing.  He looked at my TRP and asked me how long I was in the US.  Didn't know what to say for a few seconds.  Anyway, I have been able to go to my cottage which is wonderful.
 What is really strange to me about the process is that I could go a different time and get a different officer and he could decide to not let me in.  Hell the officer that reviews my TRP application next year could decide to turn me down.

Here is the number for the immigration consultant for those needing assistance:

Matthew Wiertel, Admissibility Specialist
Marc Laforce, CCIC
Graystone Centre
3010 Lyndon B. Johnson Fwy. – Suite 1404
Dallas, TX  75234

I wish all of you the best of luck in crossing with no issues or being awarded a TRP.

See my prior posts on getting a TRP without spending 4.5 hours at the border.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law