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Alberta

Harsher penalties and quicker enforcement for Impaired drivers in Alberta

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5 minute read

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.

 

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Alberta

WestJet grounds Max flight before takeoff after system indicates ‘potential fault’

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CALGARY — WestJet says a Boeing 737 Max that was scheduled to fly from Calgary to Toronto on Friday returned to the gate before taking off due to a warning in the cockpit.

A WestJet spokeswoman, Lauren Stewart, said that after the plane’s engines were started, its monitoring system indicated a “potential fault that needed to be verified and reset.”

The process takes time and requires an engine run, which the airline does not perform with passengers on board, Stewart said.

In the interests’ of passengers’ time, WestJet cancelled the flight and booked passengers on the next available flight to Toronto, Stewart said.

The aircraft has since been cleared by maintenance and will return to service as scheduled on Jan. 24, Stewart said.

The Max was cleared to fly in Canadian airspace on Wednesday after it was grounded for nearly two years following deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021.

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Alberta

Indigenous business coalition leader says Keystone XL denial will hurt communities

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CALGARY — The leader of a group promoting Indigenous participation in oil and gas development as a solution to poverty on reserves says the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline by U.S. President Joe Biden is a major setback.

Dale Swampy, president of the National Coalition of Chiefs, says the decision means fewer jobs in the short term for Indigenous people in constructing the pipeline and supplying goods and services for it.

He adds it also implies more long-term unemployment for those who work in exploring and developing conventional and oilsands projects in Western Canada because it impedes investment in production growth.

The end of the pipeline means Natural Law Energy, which represents five First Nations in Alberta and Saskatchewan, will no longer be able to make an equity investment of up to $1 billion in Keystone XL, as well as a plan by builder TC Energy Corp. to make similar deals with American Indigenous groups.

But Swampy, a member of the Samson Cree Nation in central Alberta, points out that the impact on Indigenous people goes beyond that, noting that four of his five sons work in oil and gas but one of them has been unable to find a job in the current downturn.

In a report published in December, energy industry labour data firm PetroLMI said about 13,800 self-identified Indigenous people were directly employed in Canada’s oil and gas industry in 2019. That’s just over seven per cent of total industry employment, compared to three per cent in other industries.

“It’s quite a blow to the First Nations that are involved right now in working with TC Energy to access employment training and contracting opportunities,” said Swampy.

“Within Alberta, First Nations are pretty closely entrenched with all of the activities occurring with the oil and gas industry. Any change, especially a big change like this, really affects our bands’ ability to keep our people employed.”

Swampy is a former CEO of the Samson band. The coalition he heads was created in 2017 by Indigenous equity partners in the cancelled Northern Gateway pipeline and has a membership of about 80 bands.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP)

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january, 2021

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