Government of Canada invests $2 million to keep Yukon’s roads safe from drug-impaired drivers
July 16, 2019
Public Safety Canada
While drug-impaired driving has been illegal in Canada for more than 90 years, too many irresponsible individuals continue to put many lives at risk by driving impaired. The Government of Canada is investing in new technologies, additional resources, and training to detect and deter these impaired drivers.
Today, Member of Parliament Larry Bagnell, on behalf of the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, the Honourable Bill Blair, announced $2.3 million over five years for projects to support training activities for frontline police officers in Yukon. Projects include training in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluation, as well as dedicated trainers to deliver new and refresher training. Yukon will advance their drug-impaired driving initiatives in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, First Nations, partners and other stakeholders to support safe and healthy communities.
Funding will also be used to develop standardized data collection and reporting practices that will be used to analyze trends, identify gaps and provide an accurate picture of drug-impaired driving in the territory, and across Canada. The funding is part of the $81 million announced by the Government of Canada for provinces and territories to support public and road safety activities.
“I have seen the devastation of driving impaired. When individuals drive high, everyone loses. By investing in programs that educate and deter Canadians from driving while impaired, we are making our communities safer. These investments will ensure those who drive impaired will be caught. The evidence is clear: cannabis and other prescription drugs don’t make you a better driver. Be smart and never drive high.”
- The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction
“Yukoners know first-hand the tragic effects of impaired driving. With support from the Government of Canada, frontline police officers in the Yukon will receive the training they need to help keep drunk and high drivers off our roads."
- The Honourable Larry Bagnell, Member of Parliament for Yukon
“Despite strong efforts by our community and the RCMP, the Yukon continues to have one of the highest rates for impaired driving in Canada. It is vital that we keep our communities safe from drug and alcohol impaired drivers. We will use this funding to work with our partners at the RCMP, First Nations and municipalities to advance important initiatives designed to enhance law enforcement training, capacity building and data collection.”
- The Honourable Tracy-Anne McPhee, Minister of Justice
There are over 14,400 trained SFST officers across Canada (November 2018) and 1129 certified DREs (July 1, 2019).
For this agreement, Yukon established a training objective of 15 officers trained in SFST for 2018-2019 and up to 60 officers over three years to bring the capacity to 33 per cent of police officers.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada approved a second oral fluid drug screening device on July 10, 2019. This new equipment is another tool at the disposal of law enforcement, but it is not required to investigate drug-impaired driving.
Public Safety Canada introduced its second Don’t Drive High public awareness advertisement in April 2019. The campaign will continue to engage young Canadians and leverage partnerships with other levels of governments and organizations that are working toward the same goal to eliminate drug-impaired driving on Canadian roads.
Overall, 15 per cent of cannabis users with a valid driver's license reported driving within two hours of consuming cannabis, according to combined data from the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. This was unchanged from the first half of 2018.
Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction
Public Safety Canada
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