Saskatchew­an re­ceives fund­ing from Gov­ern­ment of Canada to com­bat drug-im­paired driv­ing

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - CITY NEWS - Con­tributed

Im­paired driv­ers are re­spon­si­ble for thou­sands of pre­ventable deaths and in­juries in Canada each year.

The Gov­ern­ment of Canada has in­tro­duced strict new drug-im­paired driv­ing laws and is pro­vid­ing law en­force­ment with ac­cess to new tech­nolo­gies, more re­sources and the train­ing needed to de­tect and pros­e­cute drug-im­paired driv­ers. If you con­sume cannabis in any form, do not drive. Find an al­ter­na­tive means of trans­porta­tion.

Re­cently, the Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Safety and Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness, the Hon­ourable Ralph Goodale, and the Hon­ourable Gene Makowsky, Min­is­ter Re­spon­si­ble for the Saskatchew­an Liquor and Gam­ing Au­thor­ity, on be­half of the Min­is­ter of Cor­rec­tions and Polic­ing, the Hon­ourable Chris­tine Tell, an­nounced $5.4 mil­lion over five years to sup­port front­line law en­force­ment of­fi­cers to com­bat drug-im­paired driv­ing in Saskatchew­an.

The fund­ing will be used to in­crease ca­pac­ity among front­line po­lice of­fi­cers in Stan­dard­ized Field So­bri­ety Test­ing (SFST) and Drug Recog­ni­tion Ex­pert (DRE) eval­u­a­tion to de­tect and de­ter drug-im­paired driv­ing and en­force the new leg­isla­tive of­fences.

“Driv­ing is a priv­i­lege and with priv­i­lege comes re­spon­si­bil­ity. If you are plan­ning to con­sume cannabis or any other drug, do not drive. You are not a bet­ter driver af­ter us­ing cannabis and you can’t as­sume you are safe to drive af­ter a cou­ple of hours. Any­one who wants to drive must act re­spon­si­bly and al­ways drive sober. I am pleased to sup­port law en­force­ment ef­forts in Saskatchew­an to de­tect and re­move dan­ger­ous and reck­less drugim­paired driv­ers from our roads,” said Ralph Goodale, Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Safety and Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness.

The fund­ing will also be used to de­velop stan­dard­ized data col­lec­tion and re­port­ing prac­tices for an­a­lyz­ing trends, iden­ti­fy­ing gaps and pro­vid­ing an ac­cu­rate pic­ture of drug-im­paired driv­ing in the prov­ince, and across Canada. The fund­ing is part of the $81 mil­lion an­nounced by the Gov­ern­ment of Canada for prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries to sup­port pub­lic and road safety ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Im­paired driv­ing is a se­ri­ous is­sue in our prov­ince, and we ap­pre­ci­ate the steps Pub­lic Safety Canada is tak­ing to help re­duce drug-im­paired driv­ing in Saskatchew­an. This fund­ing is be­ing used to help equip front-line law en­force­ment agen­cies with the train­ing and re­sources nec­es­sary to con­tinue to com­bat drug-im­paired driv­ing,” said Gene Makowsky, Min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for the Saskatchew­an Liquor and Gam­ing Au­thor­ity

Quick Facts

-There are over 14,400 Stan­dard­ized Field So­bri­ety Test­ing (SFST) trained of­fi­cers across Canada (Novem­ber 2018) and 1,115 cer­ti­fied DREs (Au­gust 1, 2019).

-For this agree­ment, Saskatchew­an has es­tab­lished a train­ing ob­jec­tive of 100 of­fi­cers trained in SFST for 2018-2019 and up to 300 of­fi­cers over three years to bring the ca­pac­ity to 33 per cent of front­line of­fi­cers; and to train an ad­di­tional 100 of­fi­cers as DREs over five years.

-Pub­lic Safety Canada in­tro­duced its se­cond Don’t Drive High pub­lic aware­ness advertisem­ent in April 2019. The cam­paign will con­tinue to en­gage young Cana­di­ans and leverage part­ner­ships with other lev­els of govern­ments and or­ga­ni­za­tions that are work­ing to­ward the same goal to elim­i­nate drug-im­paired driv­ing on Cana­dian roads.

-Over­all, 15 per cent of cannabis users with a valid driver’s li­cense re­ported driv­ing within two hours of con­sum­ing cannabis, ac­cord­ing to com­bined data from the fourth quar­ter of 2018 and the first quar­ter of 2019. This was un­changed from the first half of 2018.

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