Page last updated: June 5, 2017
Canadian government introduces changes to impaired driving laws

In April, Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson- Raybould introduced major changes to the country’s impaired driving laws, including provisions that will allow for mandatory roadside alcohol screening and new criminal offences for driving while under the influence of drugs

Police officers will now be able to demand a breathalyser sample from any driver they lawfully stop. Previously, a test could only be administered if an officer had “reasonable suspicion” that a driver was impaired by alcohol. The government is making this change because its research shows many impaired drivers are able to escape detection at check stops. It is also aims to reduce legal action over whether an officer actually had “reasonable suspicion” to demand a reading.

The changes are part of the government’s efforts to “repeal and replace” all transportation-related offences in the Criminal Code, with “a modern, simplified and coherent structure,” according to literature provided by Health Canada. Wilson-Raybould commented that roadside testing in many countries has significantly reduced the number of deaths on highways.

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