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Harsher penalties and quicker enforcement for Impaired drivers in Alberta

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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.

 

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Alberta

Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

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CALGARY — The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending licences for thousands of wells and pipelines after an oil and gas producer failed to bring its operations into regulatory compliance.

The regulator says it has ordered SanLing Energy Ltd. to suspend its 2,266 wells, 227 facilities and 2,170 pipelines and ensure they are left in a state that’s safe for the public and the environment.

It adds the company currently owes $67 million in security to the AER for its assets’ end-of-life obligations.

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination, ensure its emergency response number is working and provide a detailed plan to maintain its assets while they are suspended. 

The AER says it issued an order to SanLing in September because of a poor compliance record and its outstanding security issues.

It says it met with the company several times over the past five months to request a plan to come back into compliance but the company’s responses proved to be inadequate.

“If SanLing, or any company, wants to do business in Alberta, they must follow our rules,” said Blair Reilly, AEB director of enforcement and emergency management, in a news release.

“We cannot allow a company that has ignored the rules continue to operate—that’s not in Alberta’s interest.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Ottawa unveils proposed federal carbon offset emission credit regulations

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CALGARY — The federal government is unveiling proposed regulations for its greenhouse gas offset program that will govern how developers can register and sell credits earned through projects that reduce emissions.

Environment and Climate Change Canada says one credit will be issued for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent reduced or removed from the environment, adding that eligible projects must be in Canada and offer “real, additional, quantified, unique and permanent GHG reductions.”

The projects will have to be registered and approved, monitored and face third-party verification before credits can be sold to industrial buyers for use to offset their greenhouse gas emissions and thus reduce their carbon tax costs.

In a briefing, department officials said the federal program will not compete with credit generators under similar programs offered in provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, adding approved carbon offsets can only be used once.

The regulations are to undergo a 60-day comment period ending May 5 and final regulations are to be established by next fall.

Meanwhile, the department will be developing protocols to govern how various types of offsets will be regulated. On Friday, it unveiled proposed protocols for advanced refrigeration system upgrading, landfill methane reductions, and forest and agricultural land management.

In December, Ottawa announced a $15-billion plan to meet its climate change commitments that includes steady annual increases to its carbon tax from $50 per tonne in 2022 to $170 per tonne by 2030.

Canada wants to get to a 32 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, slightly more than its 30 per cent Paris agreement commitment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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