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Alberta

Impaired drivers in Alberta to face larger fines and lose vehicles for up to 30 days

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From the Province of Alberta

Tough, swift penalties for impaired drivers

The Provincial Administrative Penalties Act empowers police to get impaired drivers off the streets immediately.

Starting Dec. 1, police will be able to administer stricter impaired driving penalties on the road, while most first-time impaired driving charges will be handled quicker outside of court through SafeRoads Alberta. Impaired drivers could face larger fines and lose their vehicles for up to 30 days.

SafeRoads Alberta, a new adjudication branch, will allow drivers to pay their fees online, request more time to pay their penalty, or dispute their Immediate Roadside Sanction or vehicle seizure.

In the most serious cases, including repeat offenders and impaired driving causing bodily harm or death, individuals will still receive criminal charges on top of the other penalties.

Quick facts

  • Under the new impaired driving laws, significant penalties will be handed out roadside, getting impaired drivers off the streets immediately. Stronger penalties for impaired driving include:
    • Fines of up to $2,000
    • Vehicle seizure up to 30 days
    • New mandatory education programs for repeat offenders
    • Mandatory ignition interlock for repeat offenders
  • New zero-tolerance consequences for novice drivers and commercial drivers will also be introduced.
  • The Alberta Transportation Safety Board will finish hearing cases submitted before Dec. 1 and is expected to wrap up operations by March 31, 2021

Response from MADD to New Alberta approach to penalties for impaired drivers

Alberta’s New Sanctions Will Reduce Impaired Driving and Save Lives

New sanctions and penalties going into effect in Alberta on December 1 will reduce impaired driving, save lives and make roads safer, says MADD Canada.

Alberta’s Provincial Administrative Penalties Act introduced several new measures to combat impaired driving. They include: additional fines for drivers in the warn range (.05% and .08% BAC) and for new drivers who violate the zero alcohol and drug requirement; a new zero alcohol and drug requirement for commercial drivers; and a new Immediate Roadside Sanction (IRS) program for certain impaired drivers over the legal limit of .08% BAC.

“When we look at ways to deter impaired driving, make roads safer and save lives, provincial administrative sanctions such as these are among the most effective,” said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie. “We are pleased to see these changes coming into effect and thank the Government of Alberta for its leadership.”

The new IRS program is similar to programs in British Columbia and Manitoba, which provide an administrative option for sanctioning certain impaired drivers over the .08% BAC limit. In Alberta, those penalties include: a 15-month licence suspension, a 30-day vehicle impoundment, increased fines, ignition interlock requirements and remedial education requirements.

“This kind of administrative sanction option for certain impaired driving offenders provides a way to get them off the roads quickly while ensuring they still face strong consequences for their actions,” said Mr. Murie. “Most importantly, these programs save lives. Similar measures introduced in British Columbia have helped reduce alcohol-related crash deaths by 50%. That is hundreds of lives saved.”

It is important to note that the IRS program is not an option for all impaired drivers. It does not apply to repeat offenders or to impaired drivers who cause bodily harm or death; those offenders will continue to face Criminal Codecharges.

IRS programs also ease the burden on court and police resources, Mr. Murie noted, which ultimately helps the Criminal Code impaired driving charges that are laid proceed through the courts in a more timely fashion.

MADD Canada supports all provinces having immediate roadside sanction programs. It is a key recommendation in MADD Canada’s latest impaired driving policy recommendations: The Top 10 Report: Provincial/Territorial Recommendations to Minimize Impaired Driving and Support Victims.

 

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Care home residents prioritized: Alberta begins second doses of COVID-19 vaccine

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says the province has begun giving second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine with priority for residents in long-term care homes.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says adjustments are being made on the fly to make sure everyone who has received a first shot gets the booster in the recommended time frame.

Timelines have been put in flux because of delays in shipments from Pfizer-BioNTech, which produces one of two vaccines approved by Health Canada.

Hinshaw says health officials are working to get residents of long-term care and supportive living facilities their second doses within a month of the first shot because they are at high risk.

She says “everything possible” will be done to find second doses for others no later than six weeks after their first shot.

Alberta has given more than 95,000 doses to those considered a high priority, including care-home residents and front-line health workers.

“We are also looking within our available supplies to be able to provide the second dose to all others who have received their first dose within the maximum allowable window of that 42 days,” Hinshaw said Wednesday.

“We are needing to adjust plans.”

Alberta Health says missing the window does not mean the first dose will be ineffective.

“Evidence is still emerging on all the vaccines,” said department spokesman Tom McMillan in a statement.

“There is evidence that the immune response begins to develop within two weeks of the first dose and continues to develop after that. But it is not known how long any protection from a single dose lasts.”

McMillan said the expectation remains that Alberta will be able to deliver the second dose within the window.

But if not, current recipients “would not need to begin the series over. They would simply receive the second dose as soon as available,” he said.

Premier Jason Kenney said earlier this week that no new first doses would be offered for the time being.

Hinshaw reported 669 new COVID cases on Wednesday, with 10,565 active cases. Some 744 people were in hospital, 124 of them in intensive care.

There were 21 more deaths for a total of 1,484.

Alberta first began delivering doses in mid-December from two suppliers, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.

Canada was to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but is now to receive just over 171,000 this week and nothing next week. Both vaccines require two doses several weeks apart for full effectiveness.

The delay has also forced the province to put off implementing its next phase of priority vaccinations: Indigenous seniors over 65 and other seniors 75 and older.

Alberta remains under lockdown measures, which include a ban on indoor gatherings. Bars, restaurants and lounges can offer takeout or pickup service only. Retailers are limited to 15 per cent customer capacity, while entertainment venues, including casinos and movie theatres, remain shuttered.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

After a strong start, Calgary Flames get early breather in short NHL season

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CALGARY — Just three games into a condensed season, the Calgary Flames are already on a break.

A 2-0-1 start for five points out of a possible six is momentum the Flames will try to carry through their five days off before hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

Days off will become precious in Calgary’s 56 games over 115 days, although the Flames weren’t desperate for a breather this early in the schedule.

The time is nevertheless welcome, says head coach Geoff Ward, with a half-dozen new players in the lineup.

“If we had a team that had been together for a long, long time, I’d probably be looking at it maybe not as much of a positive thing as it’s going to be for us,” Ward said Wednesday.

“These days are good for us just with how many new players we’re trying to assimilate into our lineup. 

“It allows us to really reinforce a lot of things, allows us to evaluate more things and allows our players to become more comfortable playing with each other, so this week for us has been real timely.”

Calgary posted two straight home wins over the Vancouver Canucks after opening the season with an overtime loss to the Jets in Winnipeg.

The Flames enjoyed a gentler start to their regular season than Vancouver’s four road games in six days, but Calgary’s heavy lifting starts immediately following the break with nine games in 14 days, including back-to-back games in Winnipeg.

“We’re going into an awful lot of hockey once this break’s over,” Ward said.

Three games is a small sample size, but the Flames can feel encouraged by an abundance of goalscorers and the performance of new goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who was signed in the off-season for US$36 million over six years.

Eight different Flames have put the puck in the net with Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk leading the way at two goals apiece.

“When you get some balanced scoring like we have early, it just makes everybody believe a little bit easier,” Ward said.

Gaudreau, Lindholm and Sean Monahan each have four points. 

The emergence of Lindholm, Tkachuk and Dillon Dube as a potent line takes production pressure off of and defensive attention away from Gaudreau and Monahan, who worked well with newcomer Dominik Simon in Monday’s 5-2 win over the Canucks.

Simon, who has spent time on Sidney Crosby’s wing in Pittsburgh, provided the screen for Gaudreau’s first goal of the season and Calgary’s first goal of that game.

“He’s a smart hockey player,” Ward said of Simon. 

“He can think ahead like Johnny and Monny do. There’s a lot of things there that we like about the potential fit of them.”

Markstrom is so far living up to his price tag with a 32-save shutout against his former Canuck teammates in his first outing against them Saturday.

The six-foot-six Swede was a difference-maker Monday when the Flames were outshot 16-4 in the first period.

Calgary’s power play produced six goals on 16 chances for a 37.5 conversion rate, and gave up one short-handed goal. 

The Flames have killed all but one of their opposing teams’ man advantages for a 91.7 success rate.

“Outside of a couple of periods, we liked our work and we liked our compete an awful lot,” Ward said. 

“There’s some areas we can be better in terms of staying with things, producing a little bit more. 

“All in all, we liked how we played on both sides of the puck. Our special teams we’re real happy with.”

The break gives Dube time to heal from whatever lower-body injury took the 22-year-old out of Monday’s game against the Canucks. 

Ward isn’t ruling him out to play Sunday against the Maple Leafs, who face the Flames again two days later at Scotiabank Saddledome.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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