As of December 18, new impaired driving laws are now in effect for Canada, which includes higher fines and newly updated policies. While many have been focused on mandatory breathalyzer tests and harsher fines, it also important to be aware of certain penalties that could occur if you are charged with driving impaired. These new impaired laws could actually cause permanent residents to lose their status or prohibit temporary residents from staying in Canada if they are charged with impaired driving.
Both the consumption of cannabis and alcohol can cause someone to be charged with impaired driving. The new impaired driving offenses can result in a penalty for up to ten years after you have been charged. Yet, these charges can also affect whether or not you are still able to live in Canada after you have been charged. As stated directly from the Government of Canada’s website, “residents may lose their status and have to leave the country”.
Immigrant status could be affected by permanent residents, temporary residents, refugees, and even visitors. Your status can also be affected if you have been charged with impaired driving in other countries as well and are now trying to claim status within Canada.
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So literally on my birthday, just into the New Year about an hour after the clocks hit midnight, this happened. My first ever police pull over. Probably because I was literally the only idiot on the road whilst everyone was at home/bar/designated party space still. A routine holiday period drink driving check; apparently. Obviously being #sober now I returned a nil/blank/zilch/0 on the #breathalyzer test. It was funny though looking at his reaction when I answered with a straight face "my last alcoholic drink? About 20 months ago." 😂🤣 Annoying as it was, the guy was just doing his job. At least he congratulated me on my continued #sobriety, wished me a happy birthday, a happy new year and a safe journey home. #soberlife #mysoberjourney #soberupbuttercup #nodrinkdriving #dontdrinkanddrive #soberaf
If a permanent resident of Canada has been charged with impaired driving they have the chance of losing their status and can even be forced to leave the country.
Temporary residents, which can include international students, foreign workers or family visitors can also be forced to leave the country or enter the country again once they have been charged.
If a refugee has been charged with impaired driving while still waiting for their claim to be referred, the Government of Canada can refuse to approve their status or to have a hearing. This means that the family would also need to leave the country.
These impaired driving charges could also affect the family of the resident, who may also be forced to leave the country with their family if they are underage.
So next time you are drinking or using cannabis, think about the multiple other ways you can safely get home, by using transit, taxi, Uber or even a designated driver.