Ontario Government Reveals New Penalties for Driving Under Influence of Cannabis

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has revealed new, harsher penalties for drivers in the province caught driving under the influence of a variety of substances, including cannabis.

The new rules come into effect this Sunday and bring punishments in line with what drunk drivers currently face.

Drivers will face a $180 fine, a license suspension (length dependant on the number of offences), possible vehicle impoundment and “mandatory education or treatment programs, and installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, for drivers with two or more licence suspensions involving alcohol or drugs within a 10-year period.”

“The OPP’s Drug Recognition Evaluator officers are highly trained to detect drivers who are impaired by drugs, as are frontline officers trained to conduct Standardized Field Sobriety Testing,” said OPP Chief Superintendent Chuck Cox. “Through our DRE and SFST Programs, the OPP is as committed as ever to reducing the risk these drivers pose on Ontario roads.”

According to the Office of the Chief Coroner, 39 per cent of drivers killed on Ontario’s roads in 2013 had either narcotics or a combination of drugs and narcotics in their system and non-liquor related impaired driving collisions had an estimated “social cost” of $612 million in 2013.

The government doesn’t specify which substances it looks to target specifically or which have been most frequently linked to traffic accidents.