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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Border Crossing - Your DUI and what you should know

There is finally some movement on the side of the Canadian Government in recognizing that some of the border inadmissibility rules were far too stringent and were a detriment to tourism in our country.  This was particularly the case for people with a single DUI or minor offence in the past.   Bob took part in a meeting with selected tourist lodge owners and government officials recently to hear about, and discuss TRP (Temporary Resident Permits" and border crossing in general.  

Here is a recent announcement from the office of our Member of Parliament, Greg Rickford

                                         "Tourism Facility Action Plan (TFAP)

  • Our Government is committed to facilitating the travel of legitimate visitors to Canada, while protecting the health, safety, and security of Canadians.
·       We are also committed to promoting economic benefits to Canada, such as an increase in trade and tourism with our trade partners.

·       That is why we are introducing the Tourism Facilitation Action Plan, to ensure that those who want to visit Canada, and are approved by CIC and CBSA, can more easily visit our country.
Two part plan:
1)     Visa application centres (VAC)
2)     Discretion on Issuance of TRPs and fees
a.     Public Policy on Minor Criminal Inadmissibility
b.     Transit without a Visa Program

·       Visa Application Centres are an innovative network of third party visa offices that provide timely visas for those interested in visiting Canada.

·       VACs are run by private companies and international organizations, consequently, they are able to operate efficiently and respond to market demands. New centres open where market demand is high and in areas convenient to individuals applying.

  • CIC currently has 60 VACs in 41 countries.  Under the new global VAC model, our government will expand this network to up to 150 VACs by 2014.

·       This is another example of our government’s innovative approach to efficiency, cost-saving measures, and promoting Canada as a tourist destination.

Discretion on Issuance of TRPs and Fees
·       This public policy initiative will provide the CBSA with some discretion in waiving the fee for a Temporary Residency Permit in cases that are warranted.

Minor Criminality
·       Many tourists are stopped and denied entry at our borders because they are deemed inadmissible for having a minor criminal offense on their record. Often, these are outdated misdemeanours or minor infractions that took place decades ago.

·       Particularly, US citizens trying to enter Canada for a family vacation or fishing trip are being turned away.

·       It is a dubious and intrusive rule, and the current process for those refused is overly burdensome and requires substantial supporting documents and records that are not easily available. This rule results in millions of dollars in lost revenue from would-be tourists and has a negative bilateral effect.

·       That is why we have created this public policy option for a one-time exemption to facilitate entry for individuals in this circumstance. Those who meet the security and criminality criteria will then be permitted to enter Canada as tourists.

Transit without a Visa Program
·       Some foreign travellers, due to unforeseen travel circumstances, find themselves in Canada without proper visiting documents. These individuals will no longer be forced to pay the $200 fee for a Temporary Resident Permit.

·       This applies for those who transit in Canada on their way to another country, and those who arrive on an aircraft that is forced to land in Canada under emergency-related circumstances."

We'll update as we find out more.  If you have an issue that makes you concerned about regarding your admissibility to Canada, feel free to drop us a line or phone call and we'll do our best to either answer your questions, or get you off in the right direction for someone who can.  

Full details of this Special Public Policy will be available on the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration website on March 1st. .

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Spring Thought's and STUFF!!!!

We would like to first say Thank-you to all the new and old guests that stopped by the Green Bay Sport show last month. Gale and I enjoy talking about past vacation stories and truly love explaining the Rainbow experience to the first timers. The weekend was busy but we couldn't miss it as it was our 27th. year there. Don't want to break a record.

We made it back down south and are enjoying the weather. It seems that every day is taken up with internet work and answering the phone!! We're not complaining but the economy looks like it has made many folks feel more comfortable about traveling north again on a regular basis. This is the time of year when everyone has just about had enough of winter and are booking their spring and summer fishing and hunting vacations.

The weather has been fairly nice down in the Keys lately and as I have said before, I don't miss the snow shovel one bit! The one nice thing about spending the winter down south is that we actually get to do some fishing. You would think that since we own a fishing Lodge that we would do a lot of fishing but, think again! We mostly go out in the Atlantic for a mix of reef fishing and you never know what your are going to catch. The other day it was so flat that we went out in the Gulf Stream and trolled for sails and wahoo. This took us 15-20 miles off shore and we were only about 50 miles from Havana! We carry a fish I.D. book so we know what we have in the boat. All I know is that everything has TEETH and there is no such thing as lipping them. (only once!)

This spring we have a few things that we are going to put in place so you will be able to have a "Rainbow Fix" anytime you want?? I tried to install a web based camera 4 years ago with no success but I think we have the right combination now so we are going to have at least one camera on the property that you will be able to remotely move from your computer to give you a real time "Rainbow Fix". Stay tuned for the details as it will be installed this spring.

We will be building two new docks and adjusting the location of a couple of the floaters we have on the property. Gale has been busy buying many small things to update the interior furnishings and over all homey feeling of the cottages. This is something I stay out of as my idea of decorating is installing a rod holder by the door and a gun rack on the wall. There might also be need for a beer fridge on the deck but that may be pushing it with the management!!

I will not be long winded but I must mention the changes that are going to be in effect this summer at the border with respect to DUI's and minor charges that have happened in the last 5 years. I was personally on a conference call with a few other select outfitters and association representatives, with the Canadian Governmental Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenny, and our Member of Parliament, Greg Rickford when the policy was announced a while ago. We were all presented with the general overview of the policy change and had a chance to ask the Minister any questions that we had at that time. The news was well received by all and it will help border crossing problems for individuals with (1) DUI or small non serious charge in the last (5) years, to be admitted free of charge to enjoy our Canadian outdoors. This policy is to be in effect in late March this year. As soon as I have the details in print from the Government I will post it on this Blog. If you want to ask any questions about it you can call me @ 1 800 282-9039.

Gale and I are looking forward to the start of the spring fishing season and hope that you will find the time to come and visit us if you aren't all ready. If you can't visit this year keep looking at the Blog or the camera and visit our web page often. Take Care till next time.

BOB and Gale