An urgent memo sent today by the MLB Players Association to all player agents warns those representing any non-Canadian players who have any past criminal record, that, “Under Canadian immigration laws, individuals who are not Canadian citizens may be detained at the border and, in certain cases may not be permitted to enter Canada at all, if they have any sort of past criminal record.”
The MLB Players Association declined comment.
The memo goes on to state that several non-Canadian players traveling to Toronto with their teams have been detained at the border because of a past criminal record. The memo does not state who those players are. To date, the White Sox, Angels, Royals, Red Sox, A’s, and Rangers have all played series in Toronto. The Orioles, Rays, and Yankees all have upcoming series with the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
The memo was sent with a copy of a Canadian immigration document entitled,” Rehabilitation For Persons Who Are Inadmissible to Canada Because of Past Criminal Activity.”
The issue of past criminal behavior, no matter how small, could also have implications beyond traveling to Canada. The memo mentions that “disclosure of past criminal records can have potential employment ramifications for players,” with player agents being advised to have players contact the MLBPA “before disclosing any past criminal record to anyone else, including their traveling secretary or any other club official.”
The AP has picked up on the story and adds:
"There are certain offenses in Canada that are considered more major than they are in the United States," Orioles team travel coordinator Kevin Buck said. "Specifically, we were advised that things like DUI and that sort of thing are considered a felony in Canada. So we've just got to be careful about making sure we're aware of anything that anybody in our traveling party might have in their past to prepare for it before we head north."
SELECT READ MORE TO SEE TEXT OF THE ENTIRE MEMO
The following is a copy of the memo sent to all player agents:
If you represent any non-Canadian players who have ANY past criminal record you must read this memo and take appropriate action AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Under Canadian immigration laws, individuals who are not Canadian citizens may be detained at the border and, in certain cases may not be permitted to enter Canada at all, if they have any sort of past criminal record. This applies to ANY ARREST OR CONVICTION for ANY type of offense in Canada , the United States or ANY other country, AT ANY TIME, no matter how long ago, unless they apply for and are granted a special permit.
Recently, Canadian authorities have stepped up enforcement of these laws, resulting in several non-Canadian players traveling to Toronto with their teams being detained at the border because of a past criminal record. Even an arrest, conviction or suspended sentence many years ago for a minor crime, or a juvenile offense, can result in a border detention and investigation to determine whether a player can be permitted to enter Canada , if the appropriate entry permit has not been obtained in advance.
If any of your clients who are not Canadian citizens have any past record of ARRESTS or CONVICTIONS, you or the player should contact the Players Association for advice about obtaining a special permit to enter Canada , before the player’s next road trip to Toronto.
- Baltimore Orioles are scheduled to play in Toronto May 28-30, 2010
- Tampa Bay Rays are scheduled to play in Toronto May 31-June 2, 2010
- New York Yankees are scheduled to play in Toronto June 4-6, 2010
Disclosure of past criminal records can have potential employment ramifications for players, so you should advise players with such issues to contact the Players Association for advice before disclosing any past criminal record to anyone else, including their traveling secretary or any other club official. The Association can help put them in touch with an immigration attorney knowledgeable in Canadian law, if needed.
Canadian authorities have provided a specific contact at the Canadian Office of Foreign Affairs who can assist any Major League player with questions about the need for and assistance in obtaining any required
permit before any trip to Canada. With guidance from the Players Association, and legal assistance from a qualified immigration attorney, a player with a criminal record may be able to obtain ADVANCE permission to enter Canada , without having to disclose these issues to his club management. Waiting until the last minute to address this issue may jeopardize the player’s ability to enter Canada with his teammates and could result in discipline by the club.
Additional information is available in the attached pamphlet from Immigration Canada (PDF).
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
Follow Maury Brown on Twitter
Follow The Biz of Baseball on Twitter
Follow the Business of Sports Network on Facebook