New drug-impaired driving training curriculum rolled out to law enforcement across Canada

News release

May  22, 2018
Ottawa, Ontario
Public Safety Canada

The safety and security of Canadians is a priority for the Government of Canada. Drug-impaired driving is on the rise in Canada since police-reported data became available in 2009, and is a major contributor to fatal road crashes.  Young people continue to be the largest group of drivers who die in crashes and test positive for drugs. With drug-impaired driving on the rise in Canada, the Government of Canada is taking action to support increased training for law enforcement to detect and deter drug-impaired driving and keep Canadian roads safe.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), in consultation with police services across Canada, has developed a new “Introduction to Drug-Impaired Driving” training curriculum for Canadian law enforcement to complement current Standard Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) training. The course is taken in person and includes training on the signs and symptoms of drug impairment on a driver, with a special emphasis on cannabis, and includes an overview of the characteristics of alcohol impairment, as well as information on impaired driving laws and medical conditions that can mimic drug impairment.

All police officers receiving SFST training will now also receive the additional training. Police officers who had previously taken SFST training will have access to an online version of the “Introduction to Drug-Impaired Driving” course curriculum.

Border Services Officers (BSO) from the Canada Border Services Agency will also receive SFST training, including the “Introduction to Drug-Impaired Driving” curriculum specifically tailored to the Agency’s mandate. This enhanced training will be standard for new BSOs deployed at land ports of entry.


“People who think drugs do not impair their driving ability are selfish and dangerous. Drug-impaired driving is illegal and will not be tolerated. The increased training for police and border services officers will help keep our roads safe from drug-impaired drivers who put their own needs above the safety of their passengers, other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.”

- The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“Driving after using drugs, even some prescription drugs, is just as dangerous as drinking and driving. Everyone has a role to play in road safety. The RCMP is updating and expanding the training available to all Canadian police officers that will strengthen their ability to continue to detect drug impaired drivers. Let's work together to keep Canadian roadways safe.”

- Brenda Lucki, RCMP Commissioner

Quick facts

  • The number and rate for almost all drug-impaired driving violations increased in 2016. In total there were 3,098 drug-impaired driving violations in 2016, 343 more than the previous year.

  • Among Canadians who have used cannabis, 28% reported they have operated a vehicle while under the influence.

  • Since July 2008, under the Criminal Code, police can perform compulsory roadside checks and assessments if they suspect a driver has drugs in their body. Failure to comply with the demand may result in criminal charges that carry the same penalty as driving while impaired.

  • According to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation’s National Fatality Database, in 2000, almost 35% of fatally injured drivers tested positive for alcohol compared to 12% who tested positive for marijuana. By 2014, this percentage for alcohol had declined to 28% whereas it increased to almost 19% for marijuana. Results vary greatly by age. Marijuana was the drug most commonly detected among 16-19 and 20-34 year-old fatally injured drivers (29.8% and 27.2% respectively).

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Scott Bardsley
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

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