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Newcomers are warned that the rigid impaired driving and cannabis-related penalties could lead to their banishment from Canada, said the government.

As Canada has become the first G7 country to legalize recreational marijuana use, these measures are a part of the wide package of changes taking place.

Penalties under the Cannabis Act includes up to 14 years in jail for unlawful distribution or production of cannabis and also for transporting it across the Canadian border.

Further for selling or giving cannabis to someone under the age of 18 or using a young person to commit a marijuana-related offence will be punished with the same maximum penalty.

New impaired driving penalties will come into effect on December 18.

The maximum penalties for the majority of these offences will increase from 5 to 10 years.

In a statement, the Immigration Department advises, “The impact of these new penalties on permanent and temporary residents could be significant.”

A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, Mathieu Genest said, “Our main message to permanent residents and temporary residents is — make sure you know and follow our laws, including our tough new rules for cannabis-related crimes and impaired driving. If you don’t, you could face serious legal and immigration consequences.”

This means that they will fall under some serious crimes for immigration purposes.

Earlier this week, the department silently put up the statement on its website as part of a notice to temporary and permanent residents informing them of the forthcoming changes.

New Cannabis and Impaired-Driving Provisions Could Mean

  • Permanent residents might lose their status and have to leave the country
  • Temporary residents — including international students, foreign workers and visitor – may not be able to come in or continue living in Canada
  • Refugee applicant may be disallowed to have their claim submitted for a refugee hearing.
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