Most people believe without any question or doubt that Canada has “open borders’, allowing almost everyone in the country. This is definitely not true. The Canadian Customs and Immigration Officers have an ultimate authority by law to allow and refuse anyone entry to Canada. Nobody, no one, has an unquestionable right to enter Canada.
Most people, however, if they do not have any criminal record are allowed entry. This is another long term penalty that a person can suffer after having been convicted of some wrong doing in one the United States; refusal by a country to allow that person to enter into its territory is a right of every sovereign nation. Even if the criminal act is only at a misdemeanor charge level, Canada, which shares the largest border with the United States, routinely refuses entry across its borders to anyone Canada determines is an undesirable. Canada makes few exceptions, be it for relatives or business, for an hour. Canada and many other countries view criminal activities somewhat differently than do any of the sovereign states that comprise the United States. One very significant example is that a DUI misdemeanor in most, if not all of the states in the Union, is considered to be a felony in Canada. The United States routinely refuses entry to the US by anyone who is a convicted felon in his or her own country. While Canada can, does, and will deny entry to almost all with a DUI on their record, there are methods one can follow to be given permission for entry into Canada even with a DUI. A person does have access to these methods if that person is willing to apply well before his or her trip or on the spot at border. It is heavily advised to make this application well in advance. Google “Canada DUI Temporary Resident Permit Approval of Rehabilitation” for more information.
The Canadian border customs agent does not have to ask a person if that person has any previous criminal conviction. This includes misdemeanors. Anyone coming into the country is required by Canadian law to declare the conviction to the customs agent whether asked or not. If a person does not make such a declaration and then are discovered or questioned after entry, that person can be charged for illegally entering the country, which is far more serious. A person can be blacklisted and banned from entering Canada ever again. This will had a far more serious effect on you as it could also prohibit you from entering other countries. It is advised to always know your responsibilities. This requirement is clearly stated in any travel document that a person must proactively declare any prior arrests and or convictions.
Since 2003 Canadian police and federal agencies use CPIC, the Canadian Police Information Center, which is a database maintained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). CPIC communicates with the United States National Crime Information Center (US NCIC), National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS), Interpol and other international agencies.