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Just one mistake? Then welcome back to Canada
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Just one mistake? Then welcome back to Canada

Does Canada's 'competency' reg for boaters apply to Americans?




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Posted: Thursday, March 1, 2012 10:00 am

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor | 0 comments




Dryden, Ontario — Like hundreds of other resort owners and outfitters in northwest Ontario, Bob Paluch says his fishing lodge saw a significant drop in clientele when Canadian border officials a few years ago began a crackdown on Americans with past offenses, most notably drunk driving convictions. According to some, rejections at the border became more prevalent a few years ago when the United States instituted a passport requirement for re-entry to the States.

But a federal Canadian policy directive could lead this year to an influx of those with a single black mark on their records, those with one drunken driving offense, for example.

“We lost a lot of people; our business was hurt a solid 15 to 20 percent, said Paluch, owner and operator of Temple Bay Lodge on Eagle Lake in Ontario.

Others weren’t as fortunate, according to Gerry Cariou, executive director of Sunset Country Travel Association. Not only were more Americans turned away at places like International Falls and Baudette, but fewer hunters and fishers were heading to far-away locations thanks to high gas prices and a poor economy in general.

“I know that some businesses went out of business because of (the loss of a certain tourist segment),” Cariou said, adding that revenues at some smaller resorts and lodges previously was just clearing expenses.

“We probably lost a lot of people (anglers, hunters) permanently, but probably 80 percent of those turned away fell into that (one offense) category.”

Under current Canadian law, one conviction is the same as four, and it doesn’t matter if that conviction occurred last month, or last decade. But now, federal officials in Canada say, an exemption will make it possible for some of those with drunken driving convictions to visit the country to hunt, fish, or for any other reason – once.

The new directive was announced last week during a conference call led by Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism. The policy is part of a Tourism Facilitation Action Plan.

According to the TFAP, “Many tourists are stopped and denied entry at our borders because they are deemed inadmissible for having a minor criminal offense on their record. Often, these are outdated misdemeanors or minor infractions that took place decades ago.

“It is a dubious and intrusive rule,” the TFAP continues. “ … the current process for those refused is overly burdensome and requires substantial supporting documents and records that are not easily available. This rule results in millions of dollars in lost revenue from would-be tourists and has a negative bilateral effect.”

Greg Rickford, a conservative party member of Canada’s parliament, representing the Kenora District of Ontario, has pushed for the one-time exemption, until a long-term solution is found.

“As of March 1, this goes into full effect,” Rickford said earlier this week.

Rickford said he’s “championed the cause” on behalf of the tourism industry in northwest Ontario, but the rejection of some Americans with but one offense was felt elsewhere in the country, like British Columbia and in larger cities.

When elected in 2008, “I made it my personal agenda as a passionate fisherman” to help the Kenora-area resort industry, he said.

Minnesota fishermen and hunters might want to make the best use of the exemption possible: “If we don’t get a long-term policy in effect this year,” only once can people with minor convictions use the exemption to cross the border, according to Rickford.

“If you come back a second time, you must have the temporary documentation and $200 fee already dealt with,” he said, referring to the paperwork and fees required to enter the country following a conviction in the United States. In Canada, it’s often referred to as “rehabilitation” documentation.

Convictions considered “major” still may preclude entry of Americans to Canada. Rickford said the exemption is for those with “one singular minor offense, including a DUI, punishable by less than six months in jail.”

However, he added, “discretion still rests with the border guard (the CBSA, or Canadian Border Services Agency).

“In no way do we condone any criminal action,” Rickford said. “But we recognized the past mistakes of people.”

Cariou says it’s best for Americans entering Canada to be “up front” with border guards, and to be polite.

For now, those in the tourism industry are working to get those once rejected to come back to Canada.

“Obviously, it’s a good thing,” Cariou says of the new policy.

Rickford said federal officials in Canada intend to work with members of the tourism industry, resorters, and American counterparts to “reconcile” differences in border-crossing rules, and to eventually establish a long-term policy that’s acceptable to most involved in the issue.

“It’s unclear how long it will be until a long-term solution is found,” he said. “But it’s very much on our radar screen.”

Cariou said such a long-term policy is important. “It would be ridiculous if it goes back to the same thing next year; it would make the country look even worse,” he said.

Paluch believes the exemption will inspire several sportsmen with one-time, minor offenses to return to Canada to hunt or fish. In fact, he has an acquaintance who works with first-time DUI offenders in Minnesota – a new group each week. “And the number one thing that comes up is, ‘we can’t go to Canada anymore,’ ” he said.

For more information on requirements when visiting Canada, call 1-800-665-7567; for more on the latest policy, visit www.cic.gc.ca, Citizen and Immigration Canada.
 

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So, if Canada doesn't allow all of our drunks into their country as tourists their tourism businesses can't survive! Perhaps we can get Canada to keep them.
 

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Hey, drunks spend good money too. I cant blame them for wanting the business.
 

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Hey, ya hoser!
 

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so your saying john because i personally have a DUI i should leave the country and not come back.! hmm lets see i spent 15 years in a VDf and 14 in a VAS as an emt which every time i took a class i paid for a background search for the DOH clearing.
 

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Not what I said, it was sarcasm, should have used an icon. However, I have little sympathy for drunk drivers, I knew good people who are no longer with us because of them.
 

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Your right John, I too have lost friends, a family of 4, 32 years ago. That low life got 3 years and was out in 19 months, it was his 3rd DUI. DUI's are not delt with the way they should be. Hats off to Canada for keeping rif-raf out of thier country, they should teach this country a thing about it.

Go ahead Bash all you want.....that is all on that subject.
 

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Fleroo said:
Canada not wanting OUR drunks. What's that popping in my head ? Pot, Kettle, Black...
I used to make several trips a year. My Canadian neighbors all had me stopping at duty free for them. The owner of the marina where I parked and launched from, wanted to be paid in Canadian Club. LOL..
 

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If you thought that Molsum was good then you should try Molson, it's way better.
 

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A one time pass? Stupid IMO.

Everybody does some really dumb things at one time or another. Think about it.
 

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hunt/fish365 said:
A one time pass? Stupid IMO.

Everybody does some really dumb things at one time or another. Think about it.
Go back in the bear hunt section and read all the angst from people, off on their first hunt, deposits paid, who were turned back because they didn't know about Canada's policies. Alot of them would have benefited from this.

If they had a good time they would have then been able to consult w/ the Canadian consulate and get things fixed if the really wanted to make a second trip.

Instead they all came home full of sour grapes and sat down to their keyboards and spread the word. Looks like it worked!
 

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You missed my point. Why a one time pass? If you are good enough for a one time pass whay not all the time? Does a couple hundred bucks paid to them make things right that you did wrong in the past?

That is my point.

Even though I had my small record expunged I still won't go there for just the point of it. I'm not a criminal. I did one dumb thing back in the day and I got caught. I can still legally own a gun, vote, and do anything anybody else can do in this country. Why should I have to worry about them finding something that could ruin a good trip.

There are plenty of places in this country to do the same thing. They can keep it...Thanks
 

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Imagine how tempting Canada is to drunks, what with their beer and liquor being better than ours.
 

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hunt/fish365 said:
You missed my point. Why a one time pass? If you are good enough for a one time pass whay not all the time? Does a couple hundred bucks paid to them make things right that you did wrong in the past?

That is my point.






Even though I had my small record expunged I still won't go there for just the point of it. I'm not a criminal. I did one dumb thing back in the day and I got caught. I can still legally own a gun, vote, and do anything anybody else can do in this country. Why should I have to worry about them finding something that could ruin a good trip.

There are plenty of places in this country to do the same thing. They can keep it...Thanks
I agree that you can feel this way but my point is the crackdown ruined alot of plans for alot of sportsmen where the one time allowance will help their economy while still enforcing the fact that Canada is another country that did view your youthful transgressions as a crime. This does not make you a criminal.

Their sudden enforcement focused on tourists. I know that people who fly in can pay a bond, conduct their business, and fly out as scheduled instead of being denied entry and having to ride the big grey dog home while your buds, your share of the deposit and your fishing/hunting gear had a great trip without you.

This will prevent this and I'm sure the people 'allowed' this time will be giventhe same access to informaton leading to expunging their records. This is a win for the sportsmen who want to try a trip to Canada.
 

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Just the fact that you now need a passport will keep me from ever going there (and spending money) again.
 

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But now, federal officials in Canada say, an exemption will make it possible for some of those with drunken driving convictions to visit the country to hunt, fish, or for any other reason – once.
"ONCE" mighty white of them
......bob

....
 

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I went on a moose hunt last year in Quebec. We had six guys going only 3 made it to camp. The outfitter had to send home 1/2 the guides. A case of Coors was $45.00 and I never saw a moose. Once was enough!
 
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