Let me preface this letter with the fact that I think that a DUI is a very serious matter and I am ashamed that I am guilty of having one.
I’m not sure how many people are aware of a law that Canada has on its books.
A DUI in the United States is often a misdemeanor, while in Canada it is considered a felony. My dilemma is that the Canadian government requires any United States citizen to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation of a felony to enter your country, no matter how old the DUI offence is. This can take up to a year for processing and costs a non-refundable $185 and I am willing to pay this fee.
Please note that I have postponed my trip due to the processing time. I was planning on leaving June 2 and travel in your country for a month.
The problem is the fact that the government wants information from the time I was 18 years old. I am now 68 years old. The requirement is to furnish every address that I have lived, plus every employer and address I have ever worked since then. This is a half-century of data that I cannot possibly remember, ever. The form also says that there is not to be a gap of time between residencies or the application could be denied.
As a retired businessman myself, I know how important customers are. Tourism along the Alaskan Highway generates millions of dollars a year to retailers, camping, fishing, resorts, hotels and motels along the way. The loss of tourists mean a loss in revenue.
Can you even imagine how many families have made reservations, etc. for a trip to Canada and found out at the border that they are not welcome? Devastating to say the least. Plus the costs of cancelling reservations.
Many tourists and commercial trucks are turned away from your border crossings every day because of this little known law, creating problems for truck lines and individuals alike.
I believe this present requirement is a bit too strict. There should be a statute of limitations for tourists entering Canada.
In my case, my DUI happened 26 years ago, with nothing other than a speeding violation since then.
The calculations for my trip alone was between US$8,000-$10,000. That’s revenue Canada will not see.
I am totally frustrated by this event and would have loved nothing more than to see the true beauty of Canada.
Also, my father worked on the Alcan Highway in 1943, 1944 and I have compiled 161 black and white photos that I put on CD to donate to museums along the highway. I will have to mail them instead of hand delivering them and watching the expressions on their faces.
My father always had a sparkle in his eye when he spoke of his time in the wilds of Canada. Oh well.