Alberta exploring changes to impaired driving laws

Published: August 22, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



The Government of Alberta says it will “look at implementing changes” to its impaired driving legislation after a recent Court of Appeal of Alberta ruling.

The province’s decision follows a May 18, 2017 decision taken by the Court of Appeal. It ruled some of the current impaired driving laws are unconstitutional, specifically the suspending of licenses until a legal case is resolved. Alberta Justice and Solicitor General says that revoking a license infringes personal rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“The immediate problem observed with the administrative licence suspension provisions is that they appear to be inconsistent with certain presumptions of criminal justice,” the decision stated, adding that Section 88.1 of the Traffic Safety Act was declared “of no force or effect.”

“We will be looking at other legislative models across the country to see which initiatives have been most effective in saving lives,” Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, said in the statement. “We want to ensure that our laws reduce impaired driving and are also upheld in court.”

Current laws will remain in place until at least May 2018, the ministry confirmed. Until then, police officers will still have the power to suspend licenses in impaired driving incidents, even before the case has been before courts.