It’s already tough to get into Canada with a DUI, but this December it’s going to get tougher. Canada has passed Bill C-46, a bill to strengthen impaired driving legislation. Under the law, maximum sentences in Canada will be increased to 10 years, which will have major implications for foreigners wanting to enter Canada with a DUI.

The purpose of the law was to tighten impaired driving laws in anticipation of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada, which takes place on October 17. The new impaired driving laws will come into force on December 18. The higher standard will also apply to dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, flight from police and driving with a suspended licence.

What does it mean for foreigners with DUI?

As foreigners are treated under the toughest standards when they want to enter Canada, all DUI convictions outside the country will be considered as indictable and serious criminality. This means that:

  • Deemed rehabilitation is no longer available after 10 years: Currently, you can be deemed rehabilitated if you completed your sentence over 10 years ago. This means that you don’t need to submit an application, but you may need to prove how long ago the offence occurred. Under the new laws, you will need to apply even after 10 years.
  • Fees increase from $200 to $1,000
  • Applications will be vetted more thoroughly


A permanent resident can be deported: People convicted of serious criminality can be deported from Canada. Although the Senate proposed an amendment to reduce this for immigrants who were sentenced to less than six months, this amendment was rejected. Thus, any DUI conviction will commence deportation proceedings. Those receiving a sentence of more than six months cannot appeal.

Family sponsorship: If an application for family sponsorship is denied due to DUI, there will not be able to appeal.

If you were convicted before December 18, 2018, you will may still be allowed deemed rehabilitation. However, anyone convicted after this date will be subjected to the higher standard. Henry Chang, Partner at Blaney McMurtry LLP, refers to Tran v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), [2017] 2 SCR 289, to state that this should be the case. However, other lawyers have written that the effect will be immediate. We will know closer to the date the law changes.

If you have a DUI and want to be cleared permanently to enter Canada, we can help. If you’re worried about the law change, it’s possible to submit your application prior to Dec. 18, 2018, as long as we can receive all the documents on time. Contact AllCleared today for a free consultation at 1-866-972-7366.