PEPA-16

27TH ANNUAL CRIME PREVENTION GUIDE 35 Roadside oral fluid drug screeners Following a legal roadside stop, law enforcement would be authorized to demand that a driver provide an oral fluid sample if they reasonably suspect that a driver has drugs in their body. A positive reading would assist in developing reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed. Once the officer has reasonable grounds to believe an offence has been committed, they could demand a drug evaluation by an “evaluating officer”, or a blood sample. Drug-impaired driving offences The legislation would also create three new offences for having specified levels of a drug in the blood within two hours of driving. The penalties would depend on the drug type and the levels of drug or the combination of alcohol and drugs. These elements were included in the proposed legislation after careful consideration of the available scientific evidence on cannabis and driving. The levels would be set by regulation. For THC (the main psychoactive compound in cannabis), the proposed levels would be: • 2 NANOGRAMS (NG) BUT LESS THAN 5NG OF THC: Having at least 2 ng but less than 5 ng of THC per millilitre (ml) of blood within two hours of driving would be a separate summary conviction criminal offence, punishable only by a fine. This lower level offence is a precautionary approach that takes into account the best available scientific evidence related to cannabis. This offence would be punishable by a maximum fine of up to $1,000. • 5NG OR MORE OF THC: Having 5 ng or more of THC per ml of blood within two hours of driving would be a hybrid offence. Hybrid offences are offences that can be prosecuted either by indictment, in more serious cases, or by summary conviction, in less serious cases. • COMBINED THC AND ALCOHOL: Having a blood alcohol concentration of 50 milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, combined with a THC level greater than 2.5 ng per ml of blood within two hours of driving would also be a hybrid offence. Both hybrid offences would be punishable by mandatory penalties of $1,000 for a first offence and escalating penalties for repeat offenders (e.g., 30 days imprisonment on a second offence and 120 days on a third or subsequent offence). The maximum penalties would mirror the existing maximum penalties for impaired driving. These would be increased in Part 2 to two years less a day on summary conviction (up from 18 months), and to 10 years on indictment (up from 5 years). The latter would make a dangerous offender application possible in appropriate circumstances. Strengthening Existing Framework The proposed legislation would strengthen the existing drug-impaired driving provisions in the Criminal Code. These amendments would codify the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in R v Bingley that certified drug evaluating officers do not need to be qualified through an expert witness hearing before being allowed to give opinion testimony on whether a driver was impaired. The proposed legislation would also provide police with the option to pursue a drug recognition evaluation or a blood sample in situations where they have reasonable grounds to believe an offence has occurred. This could save valuable time when testing for drugs, such as THC, that leave the blood very quickly. www.canada.ca DRUG-IMPAIRED DRIVING

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