In the current global society, Canadians often travel to or re-settle in other parts of the world. Most often, the United States is a top choice due to its close ties in geography and culture.

The United States still maintains a legal concept called “Moral Turpitude”, which is dated and almost obsolete in many other jurisdictions.  What does that mean?  It generally refers to conduct that is considered contrary to community standard of justice, honesty or good morals. In US immigration law, as offences which are defined as involving moral turpitude are considered barriers to immigration to the United States.

For example, theft or petty larceny (smaller theft) is considered an offence involving moral turpitude.  In many cases, a first time shoplifter will make a plea bargain on a theft under $5,000.00 in Canada.  Often they serve a conditional sentence; they may go through a diversion program. At the completion of such programs, the offender should return to the court to obtain an absolute discharge in order to keep this charge off their permanent record.  In many cases, unfortunately, that final step is not taken and fingerprint records may survive in the criminal system, which may transfer to future immigration file upon request of government officials.

Therefore, it is important to make sure that your record is cleared after your unfortunate encounters with Canadian criminal system in order to protect potential future immigration issues.

If you have any individual questions or concerns, please contact our office for more customized consultation for your unique situation.  Please note that this posting is for general information only and is not to be considered binding or official legal counsel since situations will vary and can be complicated. The content in this post is current as of the day of entry. Due to the changing nature of Immigration law, the information in this entry may or may not still be applicable.