Tougher Penalties to Deter Drug-Impaired Driving

drug-impaired driving
Tougher Penalties to Deter Drug-Impaired Driving
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Kevin Flynn

Kevin Flynn

Kevin Flynn is the MPP for Oakville. He is the Minister of Labour, and has held the following positions: Chief Government Whip, Chair of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation, and the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure. He has been involved in Oakville politics since he was elected in 1986.

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To help keep roads safe, Ontario plans to introduce new measures to make drug-impaired driving laws even tougher, which was announced on September 18, 2017.

Ontario plans to introduce legislation this fall that would increase the consequences and costs for those who drive under the influence of drugs, including cannabis. The measures add to Ontario’s comprehensive cannabis plan, introduced in advance of the federal government’s plans to legalize recreational cannabis by July 2018.

Federal Bill C-45 – Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis

In Ontario, the penalties for impaired driving are already among the toughest in Canada. The province has been working closely with public health and safety experts, police, and federal and municipal governments to develop the proposed measures, which build on Ontario’s recent action to align penalties for drug-impaired driving with those already in place for drunk drivers.

New, tougher laws against drug-impaired driving will include zero tolerance for:

  • Young drivers aged 21 and under
  • Novice drivers — G1, G2, M1 and M2 licence holders
  • All commercial drivers.

Zero tolerance means that drivers should not get behind the wheel if they have any detectable presence of drugs or alcohol in their system. For cannabis, the federal government will be approving a screening device and setting the thresholds for detectable presence in the coming months.

Ontario’s legislation would also increase monetary penalties for all drivers who fail, or refuse to perform, a sobriety test.

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As the federal legalization of cannabis approaches, Ontario plans to convene a summit in the fall of 2017 with policing partners, public health and other stakeholders. With the goal of keeping communities safe, the summit will be an opportunity to identify the resources necessary to address illegal storefront cannabis sales, proposed provincial offences, enforcement, opportunities for coordination and collaboration, and associated resource requirements.

Halton Regional Police Chief Tanner had the following to say regarding the announcement:

“While the federal government moves towards cannabis legalization, and the provincial government looks at ways to keep our roadways safe, I with other police leaders across this nation continue to have concerns over the negative impacts legalization will have on road safety.

It will be sometime before the technology/equipment is approved and in place to measure the degree of impairment (or level of THC in a persons blood).

As the police chief for Halton region I would encourage the federal government to slow down and delay their schedule for legalization, in order to maximize the safety of all citizens.”

 

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