This letter is in response to Michael Ashby’s column on pardons in the July 2006 issue of Truck News.
I would like to clarify a few points Mr. Ashby made in his column about Canadian pardons and US waivers:
* Not all Canadian pardons “seal” a criminal record. If your pardoned criminal offence was sexual, this information can be disclosed (example: you might be on the sexual offender’s registry);
* A Canadian is admissible to the US with one summary conviction (as long as it is not related to narcotics);
* A pardon can be automatically revoked under certain circumstances (example: you are convicted of a new offence);
* Our Canada Border Services Agency collects personal information on millions of Canadians travelling to the US (social insurance, passport numbers and criminal record data). This personal, sensitive data of Canadians has a “cross-border flow” and our federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart has repeatedly requested from CSIS (Canada’s top spy agency), our Federal Justice Department and the RCMP (the official owners of CPIC criminal data) where and who this sensitive personal information is being shared with. The sharing of secret intelligence evidence on Canadians is a national security issue and now seems to trump all civil rights.
It is my opinion that information of our Canadian database of criminal records is shared with other countries (example: the US) and your prior or current conviction (on CPIC) or your obtaining a Canadian pardon (from the Federal Justice Department – National Parole Board) should not be denied to a US CBP officer.
In my practice, I have seen cases of five to 20 year bans for lying to a border official. Unfortunately, such a ban can mean the end of one’s career.
Finally, having a record offers distinct Canadian disadvantages and can interfere with lifestyle choices and travel arrangements.
Owner of Pardon Inc., a private bilingual agency
Toronto, Ontario n
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