As of December 18th, the laws around impaired driving in Canada will see significant changes. The government is warning newcomers to Canada - including temporary residents, permanent residents and refugee claimants - that an impaired driving charge could get them removed from the country.
In the wake of legalization, the Canadian government is taking impaired driving more seriously than ever. They have hiked the maximum impaired driving penalty from 5 years to 10, which could force newcomers to face deportation if they're charged.
According to The Cannabis Act, Canadians could face a maximum of 14 years in prison for the illegal sale and production of marijuana, for taking it across the border, and for selling to minors.
According to The Star, cannabis-related and impaired driving penalties could lead to the following:
- Permanent residents could be forced to leave the country and forfeit their Canadian status.
- Visitors, international students and foreign workers in Canada may not be able to stay in Canada, and may not be allowed to enter if charged for a similar offence in another country.
- Refugees may not have their claims validated or be referred for a hearing if they are or have been charged.
Canadian police are also cracking down on impaired driving on the roads. Officers now have the right to demand a blood sample at the roadside if they suspect a driver of being impaired behind the wheel.
According to the Government of Canada, officers may demand the following things to test for evidence of impaired driving:
- provide a sample of your breath, at roadside, on an Approved Screening Device
- provide an oral fluid sample, at roadside, on approved drug screening equipment
- participate in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing
Bottom line is whether you're a citizen, visitor or newcomer to Canada, be careful out there and drive safe.