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Old 05-25-2011, 09:14 PM   #15
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Those questioning the DUI should seriously check into the Canadian Immigration laws.

DUI is a federal offence here!!! very very serious stuff. If you have a DUI conviction you are considered an "inadmissible class".

Sure you can take a chance in not disclosing your criminal record at the border - but there is also the chance that they could spot check as Canada has access to the FBI criminal record database - of which the first lists they check is the guns/drugs/DUI/DWI charges.

If you disclose - you will not be granted entry without a Minister's Approval of Rehabilitation.

However you can enter before this approval, but must apply for a Temporary Resident Permit. Either way you will need some time and lawyers assistance to ensure proper documentation.

We do not have the same issue entering the States as the States do not consider DWI's a Felony within their immigration laws. However, if we as Canadians receive a DUI while in the US - we will be treated as a felon when we return to Canada and we will then have a criminal record.

As for the power tools - I think that is a bit far fetched and probably just wild border stories. No doubt passed along by people who have worked without a proper permit at some point.

You may be questioned intricately but if you are truthful and honest and give no suspicion of your travel reasons then you should have no issues.

I travel back and forth with lots of power tools - although not a chainsaw - ha cause I am more scared of them than guns

Just do your research and before you travel contact both sides and get the facts. A lot of times we hear the hassles are more from returning to your own respective countries than it is entering the neighbouring country.

Know the law, have your travel documents up to date. Have specific purpose for your travel and the places and people you will be visiting. Have reservation documents handy is always a good measure. Respect the laws of the country you are visiting.

I would say if you can not be honest at the border then you are taking an unnecessary risk - that can get you into deep kaka on both sides! - ask yourself is it worth it.

Happy Travels....

Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright now, then it is not the end.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:26 AM   #16
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Page and I have travelled across the border many times - Canada is just too beautiful a place to miss. We appreciate our welcome as honored guests, as we Americans generally are.

If they are protective of their jobs - that is their right. Goodness knows that is an ongoing argument here - and whatever was decided here should be enforced. And surely we can see the difference between carrying a general set of tools required to keep our rigs going, within reason. As for carrying a full set of carpentry tools - that would certainly appear as if you intended to work up there. Or a brickmason's rig.

What I am going to miss when we head up this year is our formerly powerful dollar.


Somebody, please, point me to the road.

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Old 05-26-2011, 01:15 PM   #17
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Tools in Canada

I've gone into Canada several times with a reasonable complement of tools, not as extensive as yours though. I've never had an issue. At the border they will ask you if you have anything to declare. I made up a list (3 copies) of every asset (tools, cameras, computers) and the young lady nearly croaked! She said, "OK" and turned down my offer of a copy for their records. So the bottom line is that if you have a list that you have declared they shouldn't seize them or charge duty. You also need to state that your are visiting on vacation, not for work. Fire ams are a different story: no hand guns allowed and long arms need special forms. Leave them at home or rent a storage container near the border. Food can be a problem: don't try to take Maine or Idaho potatoes into Canada! The regulations on food, both ways, is nebulous and seems arbitrary. Be aware of the alcoholic beverage restrictions.

We have had more trouble coming back into the USA.
Dick and Claire Wiklund
North Falmouth, Massachusetts
"Judgement is based on experience and experience is based on poor judgement"
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Old 05-26-2011, 02:51 PM   #18
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If someone can find the French lyrics to Kumbaya, we can return to our previously warm and inclusive atmosphere . . .
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:52 PM   #19
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We have towed a cargo trailer to Ottawa, crossing north of Watertown, NY.

Both times we had cabinets for our son's condo and tools to install. I had a list of items and cost of what we were leaving in CA. Not one time did they ever look in the trailer.

I was directed to go to the office and pay the VAT(sales tax) and that was it.

Coming back on US side was no sweat either.

They do enter your info on the computer, so they do track suspicious guys (I hope!).

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Old 05-26-2011, 07:20 PM   #20
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Going off the topic a little, but just to redress the balance a little, you might like to know that as a UK passport holder (living in Canada) I have to apply for an ESTA clearance prior to travelling to the US. I have to state on that application ALL convictions, however minor and including traffic misdemeanors, even if that conviction is legally spent in the UK (oh, and hand over $14 dollars). If, for an example, I had a ticket for not stopping at a red light issued in 1980 and that had been expunged from my record in the UK after five years, I'm still supposed to declare it for my ESTA clearance. In terms of not being fair, that spent conviction is worth nothing in the UK but could count against me when trying to enter the US, which isn't right. So, everyone's entry criteria are different and, apparently, not fair. As it happens, because spent convictions are expunged, regardless of what you say on the ESTA application the US has no means of checking a record that doesn't exist.

By the by, I also get stiffed for another $6 when I fill in my I94 which is still required for a land crossing and it's only valid for 3 months. Tut.
Steve; also known as Mr UK Toad

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Old 05-26-2011, 08:12 PM   #21
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For whatever it is worth, most traffic offenses are "violations" in the US, not crimes. But some are misdemeanors such as driving while intoxicated (DWI, DUI). First offenses may mean mandatory jail time in many states. There's a lesser charge for slightly impaired and at this point of retirement, I don't remember if it is a misdemeanor, but it may be a violation. The legal limit for this has been lowered a lot in the last 20 years and many people violate the law (2 strong drinks could do it), but don't get caught. In my experience defending drunk drivers many years ago, people under stress (divorce for example) go on binges and get caught, but experienced drunks are less likely because they know how to drive drunk—unless they drink more than they are used to. It is kind of a hit and miss thing. Many Americans do not seem to think driving with 2 or 3 or even 4 drinks over an evening is a big deal. If they did, bars would not do so much business and parties would be quieter. Roadside drunk tests are pretty unreliable (can you repeat the alphabet backwards?) and breathalyzers are not always accurate. Many people do not hire lawyers and make a deal. Later they find out it causes them many hassles. I don't know what is the best way to handle this issue, but I think our present system is full of problems.

Other countries treat this more harshly and I never noticed until several years ago that Canada was refusing entry to people with DUI's. The US does not do the same thing, but has many other restrictions that can make entry into the US very difficult, so maybe when you look at the whole thing, it is not very different.

In our experience entering Canada is relatively easy. The border people are friendly and usually ask few questions, but some (and they seem to be newbies) try to be very serious and ask many questions. Returning to the US can be a hassle. Most of the customs or immigration people (one group now called ICE) are usually not friendly and last year their main concern was fruit. On 2 of 4 crossings we were inspected for fruit. We notice the fruit in Canadian stores is better looking than the fruit we see in US stores, but apparently Canadians eat poisonous fruit regularly. Maybe that's why there are only 30,000,000 Canadians in such a big country. One trucker was held up all day because ICE screwed up and couldn't seem to realize it. On our next trip to Alaska we may skip Skagway and Haines because we won't have to re-enter the US as much. Fruit and other such rules change frequently and are hard to figure out. Leave fruit labels on if they say US! Of course, California "bug stations" can be hard too though we have always gotten through them without incident.

I have lots of tools, but I guess at my age no one thinks I am going to Canada to become a carpenter.

It isn't whether you got a drunk driving conviction in Canada, but an assumption that anyone who has one anywhere is potentially a bad driver. I think that assumption for one conviction, especially if it was many years ago, is rigid, but it is another country and they can do what they want. Their laws on marijuana are much more flexible than ours where we throw people in jail for a long time for minor usage—that seems pretty harsh to me, so it seems to balance out.

If I had a DUI conviction, I'd just go through the paperwork and get it solved. We like traveling in Canada. The people are more friendly than in the US and the restaurants are generally better too; so is the fruit. It is a wonderful country and they are our cousins. They are much more like us than not, though some may not want to be characterized as like Americans.

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Old 05-26-2011, 08:16 PM   #22
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The moderators are getting concerned about this thread veering into marginal arguments and what, at best, are worst case scenarios. I have a close family member with a DUI and long have understood that there are ways to plan ahead on this issue. Canada & the U.S. are separate and sovereign nations, each having their own approach to law. There's no "better" about either.

Please move on. The topic of border crossing and power tools is somewhere earlier in this thread for those interested.


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