CanadaCOMMENTARY: Canada’s new impaired driving law goes way too far

08:05  13 january  2019
08:05  13 january  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

New impaired driving laws spark outrage among Kingstonians

New impaired driving laws spark outrage among Kingstonians Kingstonians speak out about new impaired driving laws, allowing police officers to access bars, restaurants and homes without reasonable suspicion.

Impaired driving is the term used in Canada to describe the criminal offence of operating or having care or control of a motor vehicle while the person' s ability to operate the motor vehicle is impaired by alcohol or a drug.

Canada ’ s new impaired driving laws kick in Tuesday, giving law enforcement new powers when it comes to interacting with drivers . READ MORE: How many drinks is too many under new impaired driving rules?

COMMENTARY: Canada’s new impaired driving law goes way too far © Getty Images Canada is set to get updated impaired driving laws. Rob Breakenridge says they might go too far.

Imagine this scenario: you’ve come home after a long, stressful day and head straight for your refrigerator or liquor cabinet and knock back a few beers or whiskeys over the next hour or two to calm your nerves. Suddenly, there’s a knock at the door. It’s the police, saying they’d received a complaint about an erratic driver and they want you to blow into a breathalyzer.

What would your reaction be? Outrage? Bewilderment? A combination of the two? All of that may quickly evolve into dread once you realize that a positive reading on the breathalyzer could mean arrest and a charge of impaired driving laid, even though your impairment came after your driving and not the other way around.

Halifax police arrest 21-year-old woman for alleged impaired driving, hit and run

Halifax police arrest 21-year-old woman for alleged impaired driving, hit and run Police say at 4:40 a.m., on Sunday they received a report of a car crashing into a tree and a fire hydrant in the 6100 block of North Street in Halifax. READ MORE: Police investigating after 62-year-old Yarmouth woman dies in car crash Moments later another caller reported a possible impaired driver operating a gray Honda Civic travelling North-bound on Windsor Street. Shortly after 4:50 a.m. officers located a vehicle matching the description in the parking lot of McDonald's on Kempt Road. Police were quickly able to locate and arrest the female driver.

New impaired driving laws will make it easier for police to ask for roadside breath tests. There' s also possible ways that this can go wrong for people. I've had clients who are older. They're in their 60 s or 70 s and maybe they don't have the same level of breath available that they had when they were in

Canadian Impaired Driving Law - BC makes impaired driving laws tougher. Tough new impaired driving laws , the toughest in Canada , went into effect Attached to this report are photocopies of the officer' s notes, all documents produced so far except the ADP and 24 hour suspension, and a check

READ MORE: Police in Canada can now demand breath samples in bars, at home

Does all of this sound farfetched? Sadly it’s not — in fact, it’s the new legal reality in Canada.

This is all a part of the overhaul of Canada’s impaired driving laws that the federal government ushered in alongside the legalization of cannabis. Obviously, the latter represented a historic change and that has overshadowed the concerning erosion of civil liberties contained in the former.

The changes took effect last month, and the most obvious among them has been the removal of the requirement to establish a “reasonable suspicion” of alcohol consumption before police can demand a breath sample. Now, police can compel a motorist to blow into a breathalyzer at any time.

Police in Canada can now demand breath samples in bars, at home

Police in Canada can now demand breath samples in bars, at home You could be in violation of the impaired driving laws even two hours after you’ve been driving. Now, the onus is on drivers to prove they weren’t impaired when they were on the road. “It’s ridiculous, it’s basically criminalizing you having a drink at your kitchen table,” Paul Doroshenko, a Vancouver criminal defence lawyer who specializes in impaired driving cases, told Global News.

READ MORE: Canada ’ s new impaired driving laws are now in effect — here’s what to know. He was not charged with anything during the stop, which “What I want all Canadian drivers to understand is the likelihood of getting caught, should you make the criminal choice to drive under the influence of

READ MORE: Canada ’ s new impaired driving laws are now in effect — here’s what to know. “It’s a serious erosion of civil liberties,” said Toronto While criminal lawyers predict the new law will be challenged, likely through appeal courts and even to the Supreme Court of Canada , they expect that

For example, Global News reported this week on the story of a Mississauga man who was returning some empty beer and wine bottles on a Saturday morning, only to be stopped by a police officer who was demanding a breath sample. Apparently, the three dozen empty beer bottles and 10 empty wine bottles was suspicious, even though they had accumulated over the holiday season.

WATCH BELOW: New impaired driving rules give police sweeping powers

On any given Saturday, you’d find thousands upon thousands of Canadians hauling in their empty bottles for a refund and surely the goal of safer roads is not achieved by harassing them. In this case, the driver easily passed the test, but the bar should be set much higher than that for demanding a citizen submit himself to a search, which is what a breathalyzer is.

In a landmark ruling in 1995, the Supreme Court of Canada found that the requirement of establishing reasonable and probable grounds “is not only a statutory precondition to a breathalyzer demand but also a touchstone of the Charter … under (Section 8).” We are talking about fundamental legal rights guaranteed to Canadians under the Charter. We should not be so cavalier about chipping away at these rights.

Impaired driving not cause of fatal Ottawa bus crash: police investigators

Impaired driving not cause of fatal Ottawa bus crash: police investigators Police investigators probing the possible causes of Friday's fatal double-decker bus crash at Westboro transit station have ruled out impaired driving as one of them, a spokesperson for the Ottawa police confirmed Monday afternoon.

But the government also passed its impaired driving bill—one that gives police sweeping new powers and could criminalize drivers who are Bill C-46 creates new offences for people who drive with a certain amount of THC in their system and toughens up the rules around drinking and driving .

WATCH BELOW: Bill C-46 helps gives Canada a strong regime against impaired driving . Authorities said the new mandatory alcohol screening laws will One criminal defence lawyer in Saskatoon said if you’re impaired , you shouldn’t be behind the wheel, but that this new law goes overboard violating

READ MORE: Returning bottles to the Beer Store? Beware of possible breath test by police

These changes go deeper than many Canadians realize. It’s not just a driver behind the wheel who could be subjected to a breathalyzer. As described in the above scenario, someone sitting at home could be, too. Or, for that matter, someone at a bar or restaurant or on a golf course.

Under the new law, someone can still be in violation up to two hours after driving. So if police were to receive a complaint about an erratic and possibly impaired driver, they could show up long after the fact and demand you blow into a breathalyzer. Clearly, the potential exists of such complaints being phoned in for revenge or out of spite.

But what if you’ve been consuming alcohol after you’ve arrived at that destination? As if all of this wasn’t egregious enough already, there’s a reverse onus here that should outrage Canadians. It’s not up to the police to prove that you were drinking before you drove, it’s up to you to prove you were drinking afterward.

This all goes way too far. It’s certainly reasonable to be concerned about impaired driving or to look at ways of strengthening our laws or the penalties for violating them. However, that concern does not justify and cannot permit such a flagrant violation of the constitution.

Moreover, given the pressures our legal system is coping with at the moment, it seems rather counterproductive to further burden it with cases that ought not to have arisen in the first place — not to mention the inevitable constitutional challenges this law will spawn.

Trying to fix all of this well after the fact is obviously not ideal. That, however, does not mean we should just roll over and accept it.

Rob Breakenridge is host of “Afternoons with Rob Breakenridge” on Global News Radio 770 Calgary and a commentator for Global News.

Rookie driver in Ottawa bus crash had another collision last month.
CBC News has confirmed the driver of the bus involved in Friday's deadly crash in Ottawa was hired within the last year and was involved in another collision last month. Sources, speaking on condition on anonymity, have identified Aissatou Diallo as the driver of the double-decker bus that slammed into an overhang at Westboro station, killing three people and injuring nearly two dozen. CBC News has learned the earlier collision, between a bus Diallo was driving and a hybrid bus, happened at St. Laurent station, just east of the city's downtown.

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