New impaired driving and cannabis-related penalties could affect your immigration status.
You can lose your permanent or temporary resident status due to cannabis-impaired driving.
If you are charged with a marijuana-impaired driving or any other cannabis-related crime, you could face a fine and/or jail. You may also be found inadmissible to Canada for serious criminality. It doesn’t matter if the crime happened inside or outside Canada. This means:
- Permanent residents may lose their status and have to leave the country
- Temporary residents (including visitors, international students and foreign workers) may not be able to enter or stay in Canada
- Refugee claimants may not be eligible to have their claim referred for a refugee hearing
Appeal rights for permanent residents and foreign nationals, including sponsored members of the family class, could also be affected.
Learn more about Canada’s inadmissibility rules and find out how to appeal a removal order.
On December 18, 2018, the impaired driving penalties will take effect.
Most impaired driving offences will then be considered serious crimes in Canada. The maximum penalty for most impaired driving offences will increase from 5 to 10 years.
The impact of these new penalties on permanent and temporary residents could be dramatic.
Marijuana affects your ability to drive
Due to the fact that cannabis can impair each person differently, there is no guidance to drivers about how much cannabis can be consumed before it is unsafe to drive. Also, it’s not possible to create a standard for determining how long a driver should wait to drive after consuming cannabis. The impairment on individuals can depend on:
- The method of consumption, for example how cannabis was consumed (smoked, inhaled, ingested)
- The quantity of cannabis consumed
- The variety of cannabis and its THC levels, including cannabis prescribed for medical use
Like other drugs, cannabis impairs your ability to drive by:
- affecting motor skills
- slowing reaction time
- impairing short term memory and concentration
- causing drivers to vary speed and to wander
- reducing the ability to make decisions quickly or handle unexpected events
For some people consuming even small amounts of cannabis affects their ability to react and increases the chance of a car accident.
Don’t take that chance. Don’t drive high.