Can I travel if there is a warrant for my arrest?
If there is a warrant for your arrest, you want to deal with it as quickly as possible. Depending on whether it is a provincial warrant or a Canada-wide warrant, police have the power to arrest you at any time and in any place within the jurisdiction that issued the warrant. Police have access to information about you through the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). This is a national database that allows police the ability to find information on almost every person, including warrant status. If police determine there is a warrant for your arrest, you will be arrested and taken into custody. This is not something you want to have happen at the start of your vacation.
Whether or not you can travel on an airline with an outstanding warrant depends in large part on where you are travelling.
Travelling on Domestic Flights
Generally speaking, you should have no issue travelling within Canada. When checking-in online or at the airport kiosk, airlines don’t automatically check passenger names against certain databases to determine if there are warrants. Even when you go through security, your name is not run to determine if there are existing warrants.
Travelling on International Flights
The security procedures for international travel do involve checking databases. Depending on where you are travelling to and on which airline, it is possible that your warrant will be discovered and police will be called. If you are travelling to the United States, you generally pass through customs while still in Canada. They will run your passport and warrants will most likely appear. If there is a warrant for your arrest, you will be detained and most likely turned over to police.
For international air travel outside of the United States, you generally pass through customs upon entry at your destination. If there is a warrant for your arrest in Canada, you will likely not be permitted entry into your destination. It is highly unlikely that you will be detained at your destination unless your charges are extremely serious. Most often, the destination country will force you to remain in the airport and board the next available flight back to Canada. Depending on the charges for which there is a warrant, they may or may not alert police in Canada that you are being returned as a result of a warrant. If that is the case, police will be waiting to arrest you when you disembark the plane.
The Best Option: Take Care of the Warrant
If you think that there is a warrant for your arrest, the best thing you can do is deal with it. A warrant doesn’t just go away and can follow you throughout your life. In order to determine if there is a warrant for your arrest, you can attend any police station. If there is a warrant, you will be arrested on the spot. The safest and easiest way to find out if there