Saskatchewan government proposes zero tolerance for drug-impaired driving

The Saskatchewan government is proposing zero tolerance for drug-impaired driving.

The proposed legislation introduced by Joe Hargrave, minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, includes an immediate driver’s licence suspension if someone is accused of driving under the influence of drugs.  Vehicle seizures of 30 or 60 days would apply if a driver was also impaired by alcohol.

Three new federal Criminal Code laws on drug-impaired driving are expected to take effect in the next month or two.

Saskatchewan says there will be additional charges under the province’s Traffic Safety Act for anyone facing the federal charges.  It’s the province’s first step in developing regulations in the lead-up to the federal legalization of cannabis next July.  “It’s important for people to remember that in Saskatchewan it is currently and will continue to be illegal to drive while impaired — whether by drugs or alcohol,” Hargrave said in a release Tuesday.

“That is not changing, even when personal cannabis use becomes legal in July. New federal legislation gives police new tools to detect drug-impaired drivers. Anyone caught will face the same tough consequences as drivers impaired by alcohol.”  Hargrave said there will also be insurance consequences for a convicted driver in addition to jail time, fines, driving suspensions and other sanctions imposed by the courts.

Penalties will include a minimum one-year driving suspension to a maximum of five years, fines ranging from $1,250 to $2,500 and a mandatory education program.

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