Just as the heat has finally let up and fall weather is in full effect, we get some... interesting news around many local's favourite summertime pastime - canoeing. Previously canoeist in Ontario found with a blood alcohol level that went over the legal limit would be prosecuted under impaired driving laws.
This meant having their cars impounded, incurring demerit points, paying heavy fines, or even losing their license. All while never stepping foot inside a car or motor vehicle.
However things are about to change. The impaired driving legislation, which is now being discussed at Parliament, is being amended in order to firm up certain grey areas surrounded its wording.
One major change is the definition of water-going “vessels” that fall under impairment law. The wording, which was ambiguous before, allowed those operating non-motor vehicles to be changed for driving while impaired. That has now changed.
The new definition of a vessel in regards to impaired driving has been updated so that it “does not include a vessel that is propelled exclusively by means of muscular power". Which means that canoeing would fall under this category.
So while you won't get changed for canoeing while impaired, you can still be charged for public intoxication or if you cause harm to those around you on the open waters while drunk. Also there's still a possibility that this legislation could still be changed before it becomes an official law, so be careful knocking back a cold one on the lake.
Source: National Post