Last month, the Canadian media reported on several instances of Canadian citizens being barred from the United States because they admitted to smoking marijuana, even if they had never been charged with or convicted of controlled substance possession. Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale described the banning of Canadians as a “ridiculous situation” that needed to be addressed. However, in order to examine this issue in the proper context, we should consider how the Government of Canada treats United States citizens who seek entry into our country.
I previously reported that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada had published regulations implementing its Electronic Travel Authorization (“eTA”) program. The regulations initially required eTAs to be mandatory as of March 15, 2016. However, the new Liberal Government decided to delay the enforcement of the eTA requirement by implementing a “leniency period.”
As explained in our earlier article, starting on March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air will require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Air carriers will be checking travellers and passengers who do not have an eTA or do not qualify for an exemption will not be permitted to board the aircraft. Government has now released further details about the eTA system as outlined below.