Pilot project to test use of roadside screening devices for drug-impaired driving

News Release

December 14, 2016                Ottawa, Ontario                        Public Safety Canada     

Increasing road safety by reducing drug-impaired driving is important to the Government of Canada. Roadside drug testing is one of the tools that can help law enforcement officers assess impaired drivers and get them off the road.

Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced that Public Safety Canada, in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) will begin a pilot project to test how well officers are able to use certain roadside drug testing devices on motorists under different weather conditions. The devices, known as “oral fluid screening devices” test saliva for the presence of certain drugs, including cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine and opioids. The results will help inform how police services counter drug-impaired driving in Canada.

Quick Facts

  • Select police services across Canada will be trained in the use of two types of drug screening devices, and will use them in operational settings with drivers and passengers who volunteer to anonymously provide a sample.
  • Participating police services include the Toronto Police Service, Vancouver Police Department, Ontario Provincial Police, Service de police de la ville de Gatineau, Halifax Regional Police Service, RCMP North Battleford Detachment and RCMP Yellowknife Detachment.
  • None of the results from the testing will be used against volunteers in court as evidence in any criminal or administrative proceeding.
  • Devices for the pilot project were selected based on their previous testing results and their use in some jurisdictions. For this pilot, they are being used solely as type models. The testing results will help establish possible future operating procedures. In parallel, Canadian standards for oral fluid devices will still need to be established before a government procurement process for the device can be launched.
  • The Criminal Code currently authorizes a peace officer to demand a standard field sobriety test. If the officer develops reasonable grounds to believe that an impaired driving offence has been committed, they can make a further demand for a drug recognition evaluation by a specially trained evaluating officer.

Quotes        

“Testing these new drug screening devices is an important step in our ongoing effort to enhance the enforcement of drug-impaired driving laws, reduce drug-impaired driving, and improve the safety and security of all Canadians.”

  • Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“Keeping impaired drivers off the road is a priority for the CACP. The CACP welcomes the pilot testing of these devices as they are another potential tool for Canadian police to help keep roads safe.”

  • Directeur Mario Harel, President, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police

“Legalization of cannabis and its impact on road safety is a key priority of the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA). The project will ensure additional information on the usefulness of these tools is available to enforcement.”

  • Steve Louttit, CCMTA Board Chair

 

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For more information, please visit the website www.publicsafety.gc.ca.

Contacts

Scott Bardsley
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
613-998-5681

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada
613-991-0657

RCMP National Media Relations
613-843-5999

Eileen Melnick McCarthy
Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators
613-736-1003
emelnick@ccmta.ca


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