On March 1, 2018, lawyers from Acumen Law Corporation were in Ottawa presenting to the Canadian Senate on Bill C-46, an act that makes sweeping changes to the way impaired driving allegations will be prosecuted in Canada.
Among these changes include baseline THC limits for cannabis impaired driving, set so low that frequent users of marijuana are likely to be found impaired even days or weeks after last ingesting the drug.
Other changes will give police the powers to randomly stop any driver and demand that they blow into a breathalyzer. Currently, police need to at least suspect that the person was impaired before making such a demand. This criteria will be removed, and we are extremely concerned that allowing mandatory testing will invite additional racial bias to policing.
This legislation will undoubtedly be challenged in court. There’s a risk of this tying up the courts and causing significant delays in other court proceedings, slowing down the process of impaired driving prosecutions even further.
We believe that as a result of this legislation, more and more Canadians will be left with criminal records due to what we feel are unfairly low thresholds for drivers to be considered as committing a criminal offence. This is an unexpected consequence.
Look, we are not trivializing impaired driving. Causing death and injury while impaired is very serious. Our Criminal Code already reflects that with its escalating penalties should an impaired driver cause bodily harm or death.
We simply do not believe this legislation is well-thought out, and our advice to the Senate elaborates on our points. We know many of our readers are not as deeply involved in the development of legislation as our lawyers may be, but we know an unfair law when we see one.
What do you think of Bill C-46?
Watch our presentation to the Canadian Senate here: