Bertrant Cantat, a French rock star from the 1980s was able to enter Canada to visit family back in November but Citizenship and Immigration Canada says that this is not likely to happen again. Cantat was found guilty of killing his girlfriend in 2003. After an argument in their hotel room, his girlfriend was taken to hospital where she fell into a coma and later died of head trauma. Cantat served four years in prison after his manslaughter conviction. 

Canada strictly regulates the admission of foreign nationals who have been convicted of criminal offences. In the past, it was much easier to enter Canada with a criminal record in the past. However, increasingly governments are sharing information, which allows Canadian immigration to potentially exclude individuals who according to Canadian immigration legislation are criminally inadmissible to Canada. Still, not every officer at a Canadian port of entry asks if the foreign national has ever been convicted of a criminal offence, and if they do not ask, it would be possible for a person to enter undetected. 

Technically the rules regarding who is allowed to enter Canada with a criminal record are applied to all individuals, regardless of their fame or status. If a rock star like Bertrand Cantat wants to enter Canada he will have to obtain a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and eventually under go the Criminal Rehabilitation process. 

A CIC spokesperson Corinne Cadou said that they are aware of Bertrand Catat’s criminal record and that “his acts will be considered in any attempt to enter Canada.”

The first step in determining if a foreign national is criminally inadmissible to Canada is to determine if the foreign offence under which they were convicted is equivalent to an offence under any Federal statute. Once it is determined that there is an equivalent offence, the maximum sentence for the offence in Canada determines if a person is inadmissible for serious criminality or non-serious criminality. Since manslaughter is punishable by life imprisonment, this offence constitutes serious criminality. 

In order to apply for termporary admission to Canada, in order to perhaps, in the case of Bertrant Cantat, to perform, requires a TRP. A TRP is a special permit that allows a foreign national who is otherwise inadmissible to Canada to enter Canada for a specific purpose and time frame. In assessing a TRP application, the security risk the applicant poses and how important their entry to Canada is. 

Cadou stated “If the person has committed a criminal offence, decision-makers also take into account the type of crime committed, the length of the sentence imposed on the person, the passage of time and the personal history from the time of the crime to the application for entry to Canada,”

This means that any entry on a foreign national’s criminal record could possibly render them criminally inadmissible to Canada. For example, a person who has been convicted of a DUI, Canada entry may not be assured, depending on when the offence occurred and how many convictions are on their record.

However, often fame and notoriety help individuals with conviction on their records enter Canada. Take Martha Stewart, she came to Canada in 2005, despite her criminal record, yet she, like everyone else also required a TRP. 


For more information about immigrating to Canada, contact FWCanada – Canadian Immigration Law Firm

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