This is the second of a three part blog on Crossing the Canadian Border, here we discuss who can’t enter Canada.
Will a minor offense prevent you from crossing the border?
Not that long ago, crossing the Canadian border for American residents was not all that much different than crossing into another state. But, in an instant, on a beautiful September day in 2001, the longest friendly border in the world changed.
No one could have guessed the events on 9/11 would have impacted so many anglers headed to their favorite Canadian lake…but it did. For starters the U.S. government tightened the border back in 2009 by requiring everyone entering the U.S.to possess a passport.
But, the biggest change occurred when the U.S. and Canadian governments realized that the world had changed and both countries needed to get a handle on exactly who was crossing the border.
So a decades old policy of waving people through across the border changed to spot checking people in each vehicle. Suddenly a minor infraction like a DUI (considered a criminal offense in Canada) prevented people from crossing the border.
Make it Happen
If you love to hunt and fish, and you have a transgression in your past, it doesn’t have to prevent you from experiencing the best freshwater fishing in the world.
There has been a big change this spring in that regard and I talked to Lucy Perillo of Canada Border Crossing Services about a policy that will keep anglers from being turned away at the border. Her company in Winnipeg, Manitoba specializes in assisting Americans with past offenses in crossing the border. She said, “This new policy allows Americans with minor offenses, where no jail time was served, one grace entry into Canada, but they will be instructed on the proper permits required for future entry.”
The good part about this new policy is now no one will be turned back at the border because they are unaware of Canada’s border entry laws. For anyone who wants to enter Canada regularly and has a conviction in their background it can be done. Lucy said, “I start with a free consultation where we discuss their situation. I will advise them on what can be done and if they have a good case for entry. I’ll make an application on their behalf giving them access to Canada for one or two years, or even permanently.”
Lucy does charge for her services, but she will simplify the process, and has assisted many outdoors people in accessing the great white north. If you have a minor offense over five years the process is quite simple and I recommend you contact the Canadian Customs and Immigrations directly to check on your admissibility.
Working for More Change
Canadian lodge and outfitter associations have been fighting on behalf of anglers and hunters for years now and this new policy is a direct result of their efforts. They are still fighting on the behalf of all sportsmen and they feel strongly that the policy of their government is not working in the best interest of their people by putting up road blocks for American citizens, who have paid their dues to society, from traveling freely into their country.