Bill S-230, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Drug-impaired Driving), Passes Third Reading in the Senate

December 15, 2016

Ottawa, December 15, 2016 – Today, Bill S-230 tabled by Senator Claude Carignan, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, passed Third Reading in the Senate and has been sent to the House of Commons.

Bill S-230 amends the Criminal Code to authorize the roadside use by law-enforcement officers of an approved screening device to detect the presence of drugs in the body of a driver suspected of drug-impaired driving.

Senator Carignan was very pleased and thanked his colleagues for supporting S-230. “I started working on this bill a long time ago because I knew it was essential. Police do not currently have access to the tools required to get drug-impaired drivers off the streets,” said Senator Carignan.

Concerning the pilot project announced yesterday by Minister Goodale on the testing of roadside screening devices to fight drug-impaired driving, Senator Carignan said he is pleased with this initiative but is asking the government to give his bill serious consideration. “I am pleased with this initiative of the Department of Public Safety. We will have a better idea on which devices to use. It also paves the way for the quick passage of my bill in the House of Commons. I hope it passes in June 2017 at the latest and can be implemented before December 2017 as the risk of drug-impaired and drunk driving is high in December,” added Senator Carignan.

“We must act to give our police officers a screening device which can detect the presence of drugs in the body of an impaired driver. As is the case in several countries, this will prevent devastating human tragedies. I am very grateful to my Senate colleagues for considering my concerns and fully supporting this legislative measure”, added Senator Carignan.

Essentially, S-230’s amendments to the Criminal Code will authorize the use of drug detection devices similar to alcohol screening devices. Once approved, these non-invasive devices will detect the presence of drugs in a few minutes using saliva. This non-invasive method has been in use for several years in a number of countries, including France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Senator Carignan noted that these devices have proven themselves, and he is confident that his bill will go through the stages in the House of Commons rapidly. “Knowing that a large proportion of road deaths are caused by drug-impaired driving, I am confident that my colleagues, the overwhelming majority of whom are mothers and fathers, will be sensitive to S-230’s objectives and that they will give it the non-partisan kind of attention and serious treatment that such a bill deserves. We’re talking about the prevention of hundreds of Canadian deaths, each and every year,” said the Senator.

Senator Claude Carignan took the opportunity to warmly thank the experts who testified before the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. Their invaluable contribution to the study on S-230 was very useful and appreciated, especially that of Felix Comeau, President and CEO (Alcohol Countermeasure Systems Corp.), Canada; Fred Delfino, Product Manager, North America (Alere Toxicology), U.S.A.; Stefan Steinmeyer, Product Manager, Drug Testing Solutions and Forensic Applications (Draeger Safety AG & Co.), Germany; Gerald D. Chipeur, partner, Miller Thomson LLP (as an individual), Canada; and, finally, Amy Miles, Director of Forensic Toxicology (Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene), U.S.A.; and Christine Moore, Vice President, Toxicology Analytical Services (Immunalysis Corporation), U.S.A.

In closing the Senator also paid tribute to his colleagues on the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. “True to form, the members of the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs did an enormous amount of hard work in a very short time, but gave S-230 the due diligence such legislation deserves. I would like to thank them in particular for the speed with which they completed their analysis,” concluded Senator Carignan.