A Humboldt woman faces deportation after multiple convictions

Johnson was born in England in 1983 and moved to Canada with her mother and siblings in 1996 to join her father, who was already living here. The family moved to Humboldt.

In 2001, at the age of 18, she obtained permanent residence. No evidence was provided that she ever applied for Canadian citizenship.

In 2010, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) informed Johnson that it was beginning deportation proceedings after she was convicted of several crimes, including possession of stolen property and trafficking in controlled substances.

She appealed the verdict on compassionate grounds and was successful largely because she was the primary caregiver for her six-year-old son, who was a Canadian citizen.

The following year, CBSA officials warned her in a letter that her conditional stay allowing her to remain in Canada could be terminated if she was convicted of further crimes.

Despite being pardoned, Johnson was convicted again in 2013 of possession of a controlled substance and in 2019 charged with counterfeit currency.

In 2022, the CBSA told Johnson that her ability to remain in Canada was no longer certain. Due to the nature of the crimes to which she pleaded guilty and the possible sentence, Canadian law does not allow her to appeal her deportation order.

Instead, she asked the Court of Appeal to withdraw her guilty plea to the counterfeit money charges.

Her argument had several versions. Her lawyer did not tell her that she could be deported if she pleaded guilty, but the court noted that her permanent resident status was not included in any of the court documents leading up to the case.

Her other justification was that she could not expect to be deported since none of her other convictions resulted in deportation actually taking place.

This was not a defense that the Court of Appeal was inclined to believe.

“In short, Ms. Johnson’s evidence shows that at the time of her guilty plea, which she is now seeking to withdraw, she knew that a conviction for certain offenses carried the risk that the CBSA would attempt to deport her. “This knowledge is within the knowledge required to understand the relevant additional immigration consequences of a guilty plea,” the decision reads.

The decision was unanimous among all three judges.

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