Canada's impaired driving laws just got a huge and controversial overhaul
Bill C-46 made reforms to alcohol-impaired driving and
drug-impaired driving, and police now have powerful
new tools to prosecute drivers
OTTAWA — A sweeping overhaul of Canada’s impaired driving laws was given Royal
Assent on Thursday, meaning the new rules are starting to come into effect and
drivers should be prepared.
Bill C-46 made reforms to both alcohol-impaired driving and drug-impaired
driving, and police now have powerful new tools to detect and charge drivers.
The bill also made many technical changes to help the courts deal with impaired
driving cases more quickly.
There are three big — and controversial — changes Canadians will need to know
Random roadside breath testing
Starting in December (180 days after Royal Assent), police can require a
roadside breath test for any driver. The crucial change is they will no longer
need reasonable suspicion the person has been drinking. Drivers who refuse this
test face a criminal charge with similar penalties to an impaired driving
This provoked heated debate during the Senate’s study of Bill C-46, as lawyers
and civil liberties groups argued it violated the Charter’s protection against
unreasonable searches. There is also concern it will disproportionately affect
minorities due to racial profiling.
The Senate voted
to remove the entire provision from the bill, but the Liberal government
insisted on restoring it and eventually got its way.
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says she’s
confident the measure will survive a court challenge, and some
constitutional experts have backed her up on this.
The government points to other countries that have random testing, such as
Australia and Ireland, and argues those countries have seen a dramatic reduction
in impaired driving rates. Critics argue those stats are misleading because they
aren’t being compared to a selective testing regime like Canada’s, and point out
Canada has also seen sharp declines in impaired driving under the current rules.
Roadside saliva testing
Canadian police officers can now use roadside screening devices that test saliva
for the presence of cocaine, methamphetamine and THC, the main psychoactive
ingredient in cannabis. Police will not be able to use random testing for these;
they will still need reasonable suspicion before demanding the test.
However, it will likely be months until these are seen on Canada’s roads. Even
though this section of the bill comes into force immediately, a number of steps
must still happen.
First, Wilson-Raybould will need to sign off on which devices are approved for
use. Devices are being independently tested by the National Research Council,
but it is taking longer than expected. Department officials testified at a
Senate committee in May that they
have no idea when the testing will be done.
Once the testing is finished, Wilson-Raybould will make a ministerial order to
approve them for use, but that needs to go through a 30-day public consultation.
Then the devices need to be purchased and frontline officers will need to be
trained on them. All this means it could be well into the fall before police are
THC blood levels
Canada will now be setting a “per se” level for THC in the blood within two
hours of driving, meaning police can lay an impaired driving charge based solely
on the blood test results without needing to further prove impairment.
We have long been doing this for blood alcohol levels, laying criminal charges
if a driver’s level is above 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of
But the science linking THC blood levels to impairment is much weaker than the
science on blood alcohol levels, and defence lawyers will almost certainly
challenge this once it’s in effect. Medical marijuana patients are also likely
to be at the forefront of challenges.
The per se levels are set through regulations, not the legislation itself. The
government has already proposed its levels, based on nanograms per millilitre of
A THC level between 2 and 5 ng would be a lower-level offence
with a fine of up to $1000;
A THC level above 5 ng would come with the same penalties as an
alcohol-impaired driving conviction, including mandatory minimum penalties
of a $1000 fine on a first offence, 30 days imprisonment on a second offence
and 120 days imprisonment on a third offence;
A mixture of a THC level above 2.5 ng and a blood alcohol concentration
above 50 mg per 100 mL would have the same penalties as above.
Provinces may add additional penalties on top of this.
Consuming even small amounts of cannabis shortly before driving could
put someone over these limits. The government has said that until the
science improves, it is taking a “zero-tolerance” approach.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
This is just one area, of many that
needs a "sweeping overhaul" in Canada's corrupt and dysfunctional justice system
that promotes criminality and crime, abuse of the abused.
Ottawa, Canada's most corrupt city
with the most corrupt police, CAS workers and Judges, leads the nation on state
Our judges are chosen by the Ontario
Government, under the thin veneer of independent selection by government
appointed sycophants who appoint the least suitable most corrupt to the bench to
"rubber stamp" corrupt decisions.
The level of criminality in the
Ottawa Police is mind boggling. Fabrication of evidence is "normal", its normal
to riddle the files of any person they don't like so the next officer who gets
the opportunity can well, fabricate evidence knowing, any officer who follows
will do the same to protect them.
Its a culture of silence, that goes
from the bottom of the Ottawa Police to the very top of the Ottawa police
supported by a Justice System that will cover up for these lowest forms of life
who call them selves Ottawa Police.
Van T. Nguyen No. 952 fabricated evidence, and to protect him, Samuel Wayne
Smith No. 880 did the same. Then knowing that the other two officers fabricated
Peter Van Der Zander No. 1639, did the same.
If you have a complaint about any of these
evidence fabricating criminals employed
by the Ottawa Police , drop a line to