Federal government funds $17 million towards Ontario’s fight against impaired driving

Published: April 30, 2019

Updated: June 3, 2019

Author: Luke Jones



The federal government is taking action to reduce impaired driving in Ontario. A new $17 million project aims to provide frontline support to police officers in the province. In a press release, the government says impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death in Canada and the money will bring new technologies to law enforcement and further training to detect drugs in drivers.

Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, the Honourable Bill Blair, announced the $17 million fund will be distributed over five years. The money will be focused on training for Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluation.

“Far too many Canadians continue to risk their lives and the lives of others by driving while impaired by cannabis or other drugs,” Blair said. “The measures we are taking gives officers the tools, training and resources they need to detect impaired drivers, get them off our roads and keep our communities safe. The combination of Canada’s strict new impaired driving legislation and these new tools for frontline law enforcement mean that anyone who drives impaired will be caught and face serious legal consequences. Don’t drive high.”

Money will also be provided to create a standard for data collection and reporting, allowing authorities to analyze trends and see gaps in their ability to police drug-impaired driving. The Government of Canada forwarded $81 million in total for initiatives across the country’s provinces.

The project was welcomed by MADD Canada, a leading charitable organization that focuses on impaired driving.

“Drug-impaired driving spares no one – whether you use cannabis, illegal drugs, some prescription and over-the-counter medications – the devastating consequences are the same. We fully support the partnership between the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario to provide more resources for law enforcement to crack down on these dangerous drivers, and we encourage Canadians to heed the message of the Don’t Drive High campaign and be safe.” – Andrew Murie, Chief Executive Officer, MADD Canada

Quick Facts

  • “Of Canadians reporting cannabis use, 28 per cent reported they have operated a vehicle while under the influence.
  • There are over 14,400 trained SFST officers across Canada (November 2018) and 935 certified DREs (February 1, 2019).
  • For this agreement, Ontario has established a training objective of 1,955 officers trained in SFST for 2018-2019 and up to 6,700 officers over three years to bring the capacity to 50 per cent of frontline officers.
  • The public awareness 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.”