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Federal (Criminal Code of Canada) Offences

In October of 2018, The Parliament of Canada passed a new bill that combined driving offences relating to alcohol use and drug use under one scheme.  This new bill makes it an offence to “operate” any “conveyance” while your ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or drugs.  A “conveyance”  includes virtually every kind of motorized mode of transportation. Similarly, the word “operate” has been given an extremely broad definition that can include any situation where a driver is found to be having any degree of “care and control” of the conveyance.

As a result of these changes, it is now an offence in Canada to do any of the following:

  1. Operate a conveyance with a blood-alcohol level higher than 50mg/100mL

  2. Operate a conveyance with a blood-TCH level higher than 2 nanograms

  3. Operate a conveyance while your ability to do so is impaired to any degree by either alcohol or drugs, regardless of the levels of alcohol/drugs found in your blood

  4. Having a higher blood-alcohol/drug level than allowed within two hours of operating a conveyance

“Wait…What?…Did I read #4 right? I can be charged for what happens AFTER I drive?”


“Even if I have no intention of driving again until I’m sober?”


Being charged with any of these offences mean severe and immediate consequences, even before proven guilty in court.  If you are found guilty, the minimum penalty you will face is $1000 fine and a one year driving prohibition, in addition to various costly steps required to reinstate your driver’s license.  The minimum penalties increase if the blood-alcohol/drug levels are higher than certain levels.  Maximum penalties for impaired operation offences can reach life in prison!

If you, or someone you love, finds themselves in the unfortunate position of being charged with one of these offences, the first thing to do is ACT FAST! In some cases, some of the “up-front” consequences may be reduced. Most importantly, some options that are available are extremely time sensitive.  You will need good advice and you will need it quickly.

There are also Provincial Laws and Regulations that will likely result in further charges. You can read more about those here.

This is a very new and extremely technical area of the law.  In many ways it is based on scientific analysis and data. As such, it is evolving and developing at an incredible pace as judges across the country struggle to interpret these new principals in individual cases.  Having over 12 years of criminal defence experiences, Karim Morgan understands the importance of keeping on top of these latest developments and utilizing them in even newer and more creative ways tailored to his clients’ cases in order to give each and every client the best chance to win!