In the post-9/11 age of heightened security and improved data collection, crossing the U.S.-Canada border is no longer a cakewalk. American travelers increasingly find that minor convictions, or even just arrests, from the distant past are coming back to haunt them. In February The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Canadian border officials are denying entrance to Americans with records of pot arrests, DUIs, even fraternity prank thefts.
The policy of barring Americans with criminal records, no matter how old or how minor, is not new. But only with the Smart Border Action Plan, a post-9/11 program for sharing data between the United States and Canada, has it been enforced this comprehensively.
Tourists aren’t the only people complaining. According to a March Reuters report, Canadian businesses are complaining that post-9/11 security measures are gumming up their promises of a just-in-time delivery. The head of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce estimates that Canada loses as much as $8 billion Canadian every year because of delays in shipments across the American border.