Cruising to Canada? Drunk Drivers Beware!

Just when you think you have heard everything  . . .  along comes a story like this.

Dianna Hilliard, an attorney in Missouri with 25 years of experience handling drunk driving cases, explains that if you are a passenger with a DWI / DUI conviction you may have a problem entering Canada during your cruise.  In a blog entitled "On a Cruise to Canada???  DWI Conviction?  May need a special waiver to enter Canada," Ms. Hilliard writes:

"A DWI incident will effect your ability to go to Canada.

Canada - Cruise - DUI - DWICanadian authorities are reported to be refusing admission to drivers with a DWI conviction in the USA.  Such records are immediately available on Canada Immigration computers and may show convictions as far back as 20 years ago.  Those with such convictions may be able to get a waiver for up to 30 days visitation upon payment of a $200 (Canadian) fee.  A single DWI conviction may be permanently expunged from the Canadian computers for payment of $400 (Canadian).  Canadian officials are reported justifying the fees because they feel DWI is a serious crime and it is a way of keeping "undesirables" out of Canada. 

This includes passengers on a cruise.  What should you do?  First, plan ahead, way ahead as Canada may take over 6 months to decide on a special waiver .  .  ."

It seems strange that a passenger who enters Canada only for an afternoon and returns to the cruise ship which leaves at 6:00 p.m. (and doesn't even rent a car) could be be prevented from entering the country for a drunk driving arrest 5 or 10 years ago.  It seems particularly strange because at any given time there are hundreds of drunk passengers on the cruise ships as they enter Canadian waters.  

Does anyone know of a passenger who was denied entering Canada because of a DWI / DUI conviction?

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Tom Carten - September 17, 2010 12:07 PM

Canada refusing entry for DUI's:

This is nothing new. Canada has been refusing entry for any crime which resulted in an arrest for individuals over the age of 18. They check out with NCIC when you reach the border, if driving, or the manifest of the cruise line.

One report was of a man who, when in college, shoplifted a candy bar as part of a prank. Arrested, he paid the fine, swept the store's (or police station's) parking lot as part of the deal and all was forgotten. Until he tried to enter Canada some twenty years later.

I may be wrong, but I think we've been doing the same thing to the Canadians for a much longer time and they got tired of it. Karma.

CST - September 19, 2010 8:25 AM

Yes -- Canadians are also refused for the same thing when heading into the US. This doesn't mean that every person with a minor charge gets refused. If you choose to be rude to the Border Guard that has the right to refuse your entry, they may just choose to turn you away. Seems fair to me. If I had to guess, I'll bet that "Candy Bar Man" was rude to the Border Guard. I travel across the US border quiet a bit for work, and I see all sorts of people treating the guards with disrespect. Shameful. It's a privilege to visit another country -- people need to remember that.

As a Canadian, I fully support DUI drivers being turned away. Actions have consequences. DUI has a number of consequences (killing someone, losing your license, jail time, etc), and has the added consequence of potentially not being allowed the visit the Great White North.

Linda - September 4, 2011 7:58 PM

question? we are leaving on a cruise on oct 1 from NY just found out that one of our passengers is 3 time dui and owes back child support ihs he going any place we have backup if he cant go

CR - July 19, 2014 4:07 PM

We just returned from a cruise to Alaska with a one day stop in Victoria. My husband was denied entry because of misdemeanor that occurred in 1993! Those bastards made him feel humiliated and not worth a pig's eye. All this from a country who let known terrorists through their country to destroy the US.

Oh, but for $1000 he could "plead his case" before some jackass who would have the authority to "pardon" him for a 4 hour stopover. And in this kangaroo court scenario, if "da judge" decides the offender is not good enough, that's a thousand bucks down the drain!

I have this message for the Canadians: Suck my big toe Canada....we drove all over last year without a problem. You'll never see another god damned dime from me.

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