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Red Divider Line

Impaired Driving Law Receives Royal Assent
Source - Department of Justice - Canada

OTTAWA June 30, 2000 The Honourable Anne McLellan, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced today that tough new legislation targeting impaired drivers received Royal Assent yesterday.

"Despite improvements over the past dozen years, impaired driving continues to devastate families and communities," said Minister McLellan. "This legislation will serve as an important tool in the fight against drunk driving. We will continue to work with the provinces, territories and dedicated organizations like MADD Canada to combat this very serious problem and ensure that Canadians are educated about the tragic consequences of impaired driving."

Bill C-18 will amend the Criminal Code to:

  • increase the maximum penalty for impaired driving causing death from 14 years to life imprisonment and
  • allow police to seek a warrant to obtain a blood sample from an unconscious driver they believe to be drug impaired and involved in a collision where there was injury or death.

"MADD Canada is very pleased that the Government of Canada has taken another step towards putting in force legislation that makes it perfectly clear that impaired driving, whether alcohol or drug impaired, is absolutely intolerable," said Carolyn Swinson, National President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada. "We are dedicated to continuing our work with governments at all levels, police and other partners to do even more to combat this deadly and preventable crime."

This bill is the second piece of impaired driving legislation introduced by the Government of Canada to receive Royal Assent in the past year. July 1, 2000 marks the first anniversary of the coming into force of Bill C-82, which increased penalties for drinking and driving and gave police and judges new tools to keep impaired drivers off the road.

Both bills reflect recommendations put forth in the report by an all-party Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Toward Eliminating Impaired Driving, tabled in May 1999. The amendments that received Royal Assent today fulfil the Government of Canada's commitment to change the Criminal Code as recommended in the report.

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Farah Mohamed
Director of Communications
Ministers Office
Department of Justice

Hal Pruden
Criminal Law Policy Section
Department of Justice

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