Canadian border-crossing queries addressed
Ottawa, Ont. — When officials in Canada announced a directive that would enable a number of single-offense Americans to return to the country to hunt or fish – without paying a “rehabilitation” fee – they did so with a caveat that it remains a discretionary call for Canadian border officers, that an “inadmissible” person still could be turned away.
Operational Bulletin 389, approved in late February, is a public policy “approved with respect to the entry of foreign nationals who are inadmissible on … criminal grounds. Specifically, the policy allows the grant of a one-time fee exemption for a ‘temporary resident permit’ for certain offenses, including offenses such a driving while impaired.”
Those convicted of that single offense must have received no jail time as part of their sentence, according to the policy.
Still, questions remained, and anglers and hunters sought assurances before potentially long treks north to the Canadian border.
This week, the Canada Border Services Agency, via email, responded to Outdoor News requests for additional information regarding the new policy, which took effect March 1.
Included in the query: Do people who could take advantage of the temporary resident permit need to have other paperwork filled out prior to reaching the border, and if not, should the “inadmissible” person have certain records or documents in his possession?
The response offers no promise of allowed passage into Canada.
According to the CBSA, “There is no guarantee that a foreign national will be issued a temporary resident permit. Therefore, foreign nationals do not need to have any forms filled out or completed for the TRP fee waiver.
“If a border services officer offers a TRP, the paperwork can be completed at the port of entry.
“Records of criminal records and other supporting documentation that explain why a foreign national is inadmissible and why it may be justified that the foreign national enter Canada could be helpful.”
Single-offense “inadmissibles” also wonder whether enough time has passed to warrant them rehabilitated.
The CBSA says there is “no minimum amount of time that needs to pass after conviction before an officer may decide to offer a TRP to a foreign national.”
However, “In order to be eligible for deemed rehabilitation, at least 10 years must have passed since completeing all imposed sentences for a conviction (including probation, fines, and other conditions).”
“A foreign national does not need to submit an application to be deemed rehabilitated, and there are no costs.”
The CBSA reminds border crossers that this directive allows for a one-time waiver: “If an inadmissible traveller shows up at the border without the required entry documents a second time, (he) may be considered for a temporary resident permit, and … would have to pay the usual $200 fee.
(He) could also wait until (he) meets the conditions for ‘deemed rehabilitation,’ apply for individual rehabilitation with Citizen and Immigration Canada (fee required) or apply ahead of time for a temporary resident permit with CIC (fee required).”
In closing, the CBSA reiterates, “The decision to offer a TRP, fee-exempt or not, continues to be at the discretion of the officer.”
Websites dedicated to helping Americans cross the Canada border, too, have questioned the policy change. Ezbordercrossing.com, for example, recently offered this, following correspondence with Canadian officials: “It is … unclear to us whether this will actually result in easier entry to Canada for those with minor offenses.”
According to the policy statement on OB 389, not only may the delegated authority – border officers – exempt the fees associated with the TRP, but “The delegated authority should counsel the foreign national that the next time they seek to enter Canada, the fee exemption will not apply and that they should look into potential mechanisms to overcome their inadmissibility.”
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