Saskatchewan has unveiled new legislation that will introduce zero tolerance rules for all drivers impaired by drugs.
This is being done alongside new federal legislation for drug-impaired driving that is expected to take effect in December or January. Anyone charged under these new federal laws will face tough consequences in Saskatchewan.
The federal legislation, Bill C-46, will add three new Criminal Code charges for drug impaired driving.
If charged under Bill C-46, a driver will face an immediate license suspension until court has disposed of the charge. Additionally, drivers face a 30-day vehicle seizure. That can increase to 60 days if the driver also has a blood alcohol concentration over .16.
In addition to fines and/or jail time that go along with a Criminal Code conviction, SGI will add on the following consequences: a minimum one year license suspension with a maximum of five years, penalties worth $1,250 to $2,500 through the Safe Driver Recognition program and a need to complete education programs.
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“It’s important for people to remember that in Saskatchewan, it is currently and will continue to be illegal to drive while impaired – whether by drugs or alcohol,” Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave said.
“That is not changing, even when personal cannabis use becomes legal in July. New federal legislation gives police new tools to detect drug-impaired drivers. Anyone caught will face the same tough consequences as drivers impaired by alcohol.”
The legislation will also give police in Saskatchewan clearance to use federally approved drug screening devices. Executive vice-president of the SGI Auto Fund, Earl Cameron, said that the saliva sample based drug screening devices won’t give an impaired result for trace elements of marijuana.
“The federal screening device that they’re going to be using will not test that small of an amount and show a positive. It’s set much higher than the limit,” Cameron said.
If no Criminal Code charges are laid, drivers may still face penalties similar to those that exist for alcohol.