Alberta introducing several other criminal code changes
Alberta’s Zero Tolerance program for Graduated Driver Licensing drivers will be extended to include zero tolerance for cannabis, cannabis/ alcohol combinations and illegal drugs.
This change was praised by Brenda Johnson, chair of the MADD Canada National Board of Directors, who shared her appreciation to the government at Tuesday’s press conference.
She said zero tolerance for drugs in young drivers will likely save lives, although they would like to see zero tolerance for young drivers raised to 22 years of age.
“That’s a really important feature to protect our youth,” Johnson said. “Your government is leading the country in legislation right now. And it’s a hard job.”
Alberta’s administrative licence suspension program will change so that motorists convicted of driving with a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08 will have their licences immediately suspended for a fixed term 90 days.
Previously, their licence remained suspended until the criminal conviction was resolved.
This change was already in the pipeline — in May, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled the practise of revoking licences until someone is acquitted is unconstitutional because it pressures people to plead guilty in order to get their licence back sooner.
Driving under the influence of other drugs
As part of Bill C-46, the federal government has indicated people can be charged for criminal impaired driving for testing positive for illegal drugs in their blood such as cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. Currently there is no established limit for illegal drugs as there is for cannabis, however the government has said there could be in the future.
Brenda Johnson of MADD Canada says Alberta incorporating cannabis and drug-impaired driving into their Zero Tolerance graduated Driver Licensing drivers is a good idea.