An American actress who served time for a felony may have a new movie deal in the works in the Great White North — but she'll have to get the green light from the Canadian government first.
Known for her starring roles in the When Calls the Heart series on the Hallmark Channel, Lori Loughlin made headlines in 2019 amid allegations of college admissions bribery. The American Pay television network announced that it would no longer work with the actress and ceased the development of productions.
Loughlin, who also starred as Rebecca Donaldson Katsopolis on the popular sitcom Full House, was later charged with a felony and spent two months behind bars for paying half a million dollars in bribes to get her two daughters into college.
Her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, served a five-month sentence. Prosecutors said he deserved a tougher sentence because he was “the more active participant in the scheme."
Legal documents obtained by TMZ show that an American judge has granted Loughlin permission to travel to film a movie in Canada. However, she still needs to get approved by the Canadian government.
Will Lori Loughlin be permitted to enter Canada with a felony on her record?
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) spokesperson Maria Ladouceur told Vancouver Is Awesome that the agency takes security at Canada's border very seriously.
Anyone seeking entry to the country — including Canadian citizens — must "demonstrate they meet the requirements to enter and/or stay in Canada" and may also be subject to a more in-depth exam, Ladouceur explained.
"Border services officers (BSOs) determine the admissibility of all travellers on a case-by-case basis and based on the information made available at the time of entry. Several factors are used by BSOs in determining admissibility into Canada, including involvement in criminal activity, in human rights violations, in organized crime, security, health or financial reasons," she said.
Under Canada’s immigration law, if you have committed or been convicted of a crime, you may not be allowed into Canada. In other words, you may be “criminally inadmissible."
Vancouver Criminal Law lawyer Kyla Lee weighed in on the issue, noting that there are exceptions, including ones for high-profile people.
"She would likely qualify under a special category for being a notable person who is the only one who can fulfill that role. It is used for celebrities, sports stars, and musical performers most often, although can also be used for people who are particularly notable in their field," she told Vancouver Is Awesome.
Loughlin would need to submit an application through CBSA/Immigration and Refugee Canada and get it approved before she could enter Canada.
"She will have to retain a Canadian immigration lawyer to prepare and submit the application," Lee explained.
"I expect that given her stature, the nature of the specific offence, and the well-known work she does in Canada that the application would most likely be granted."
Several high-profile American celebrities have been denied entry to Canada for their criminal records. Some noteworthy figures include Lil Wanye, The Game, 50 Cent, Russel Brand and Chris Brown.
With files from the Canadian Press.