Even Tougher Impaired Driving Laws Coming to B.C.

Following on the heels of Ontario’s draconian Road Safety Act (discussed at some length in one of my earlier Slaw posts) The B.C. Liberal government has introduced legislation that would create a Provincial offence for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.05-0.08 (the Criminal Code legal limit is 0.08). The penalty for a first offender would be a 3-day driving ban plus a $200 fine rising from there for each subsequent offence.

Not to be outdone by Ontario though, B.C.’s law proposes to go a step further by also creating a Provincial offence of driving over 0.08. In this case, penalties would start with a 90-day licence suspension and a $500 fine.

It is with some irony that I note that this type of non-criminal regulation of impaired driving is very similar to what I proposed in this space only a month ago. The only differences (for anyone keeping track): I was prepared to impose heftier penalties that mimicked the existing fines and suspensions for the Criminal Code offence of impaired driving and, my proposal was predicated upon replacing certain Criminal Code impaired charges with Provincial alternatives whereas B.C. appears perfectly content to penalize people twice for the same offence.


  1. This issue makes me full of rage. In BC it seems the MADD and the BCAA have lobbied the government and taken away law enforcement control of policing the roadway and enforcing the law.

    I would have no problem if the criminal code had been changed to reflect a lowering of the legal limit from .08 to .05 and that was the law. But what kind of driving evidence and signs of impairment are the police going to have for someone they suspect would blow .05 to warrant the use of the road side device?

    I get that this is likely a good money grab for the BC government, (although you would think the HST would be making them flush enough) towing companies, motor vehicle impound lots and insurance (ICBI).

    Any thoughts?