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first_imgIn a move that could affect foreign students, workers and permanent residents to a large extent, a legislation is under scrutiny by some Canadian senators and lawyers to raise the maximum penalty for impaired driving offences in Canada, The Star reported.As of now, conviction of impaired driving entails a maximum penalty of five years in jail, which is considered “ordinary criminality” under immigration law. This does not affect the permanent status of immigrants.However, in the proposed legislation, the increased maximum penalty of 10 years would automatically classify impaired driving as “serious criminality.” So even if a first-time immigrant offender is convicted and is only ordered to pay a fine, they would still lose their immigration status and be banned from Canada.“We take impaired driving very seriously and we don’t want impaired drivers behind the wheel,” Senator Ratna Omidvar was quoted as saying by the publication. Saying that if a Canadian citizen is convicted of impaired driving for the first time, they could be sentenced to just a fine, she added: “A permanent resident in the same situation would pay the fine and face deportation. It is a double whammy not on all people but just on a class of people. That’s an unintended consequence. The impact on permanent residents would be huge and disproportionate to what a Canadian would get.”The Canadian Bar Association has asked the Senate to carefully consider the bill, saying that it wants the penalty to remain classified as “ordinary criminality.” The changes could put “significant strain” on “Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and Canada Border Services Agency resources,” the association added, saying that there should be an exception to the 10-year penalty threshold for offences that do not involve serious bodily injury or death.“We remain concerned that Bill C-46 will introduce uncertainty into the law and result in significantly increased litigation and delays,” the association said. “Our recommendations are intended to continue to protect Canadians from impaired driving, without triggering the serious criminality consequences.”Under the Canadian immigration law, serious criminality refers to terrorism, (threats to) national security and membership to organized crime. “Lumping first-time impaired driving offenders with them is disproportionate and unfair. It’s an overkill and oversight,” immigration lawyer Robin Seligman said to the publication.The upper senate will sit this week to discuss amendments to the bill. Related ItemsCanadaDeportationlast_img read more

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