Canada crossings: resorters mostly happy with new border directive
Morson, Ont. — An “operational bulletin” issued by the Canadian government and intended to give some one-time law offenders from the United States a single free pass into the country – at the discretion of the border patrol agent – appears to be working in most cases.
Justin Gaudry, of Mylie’s Place resort north of Morson, and a member of the board of directors of the North Western Ontario Tourism Association, said earlier this week that the “interim step” offered beginning a few months ago, was allowing some
U.S. citizens into Canada, who’d typically require “rehabilitation,” most of the time for an alcohol-related driving offense.
“I haven’t heard any terrible stories yet,” Gaudry said regarding entry into Canada. “The whole thing (with the directive) was to get tourism going back in a positive direction.”
Operational Bulletin 389 still left discretion up to individual border agents, though Gaudry said the superintendent at Fort Frances entry point had told agents there (International Falls, Minn.) to adhere to the directive. It was suggested those at the Rainy River (Baudette) crossing do the same.
The policy announced in March, and steered through the parliament by Greg Rickford, a member of parliament from the Kenora District of Ontario, allowed for a one-time fee exemption for a “temporary resident permit” for certain offenses, such as driving while intoxicated, as no jail time had been ordered as part of the sentence.
The Canada Border Services Agency, responding to a request for clarification on the matter from Outdoor News, said at that time that “There is no guarantee that a foreign national will be issued a temporary resident permit.”
Typically, those with one DWI, for example, must pay a $200 fee in order to be allowed into Canada.
For Gaudry, the operational bulletin is a good starting point, and an unexpected one. He’s been working in the resort industry since he was 14, for 20 years now.
“I expect to be in it for another 20 years,” he said, “and I thought I’d be long dead in the ground before anyone touched this thing.”
However, he added, unless a long-term policy follows, this interim measures will be considered “a slap in the face.”
One letter writer to Outdoor News, however, said he’d seen examples of Canadian officials denying entry into the country, not granting the one-time exemption.
“As you can imagine, this is causing the usual heartache and financial burden (to resort owners and visiting sports people alike),” the letter writer said.
Gaudry said it’s important that travelers be honest about their past offenses, and that they be aware that there’s a one-offense limit, that a conviction of another sort from year’s past could nullify the one-time exemption.
However, he adds, the North Western Ontario Tourism Association would like to hear the experiences of those passing though points of entry into Canada – whether they be good or bad.
Check the web at www.nwota.com to report border incidents or for more information.