Mandatory Alcohol Screening Now Law

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 11:04 a.m. December 20, 2018

With Mandatory Alcohol Screening now law, police officers no longer require suspicion of alcohol consumption when they lawfully stop drivers.

A man in TPS uniform holding a device up to another man
Sgt. Warren Stein demonstrates a breath sample, which officers can now demand without a driver showing signs of impairment

Police officers across Canada can now demand a breath sample after pulling over a vehicle for a driving infraction or at a RIDE spot check.

“This doesn’t give officers new powers to pull vehicles over,” said Sgt. Brett Moore of Traffic Services. “The officer has to see the driver operating the vehicle and they have to have the roadside device with them to conduct the test if the driver breaks the law. They can demand from any driver a sample of their breadth once they are lawfully stopped.”

Failure to comply with the officers’ request to blow into the device will result in a $2,000 fine. 

“If you are caught a second time, you will be sentenced to 30 days in jail and a third-time offender will end up in jail for 120 days,” added Moore.

The test takes a few minutes.

“It’s not intrusive,” Moore said. “It comes down to the more drivers you screen, the safer we can make the roads. Some people have the ability to mask the consumption of alcohol. In situations where it is not obvious to the officer that a driver has alcohol in their system, the device is something extra they can use to ensure people are not impaired.”

There is a zero tolerance for alcohol in young drivers under the age of 21.

Bill C-46 also increases the mandatory fines for first offenders with high blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) without causing bodily harm or death:

  • A first offender with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 80 to 119 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood is subject to the current mandatory fine of $1,000
  • The mandatory minimum fine for a first offender with a BAC of 120 to 159 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood is raised to $1,500
  • The mandatory minimum fine for a first offender with a BAC of 160 mg or over of alcohol per 100 ml of blood or more is raised to $2,000
  • A first offender who refuses to comply with a lawful demand is subject to a $2,000 minimum fine
  • Second offence is mandatory minimum 30 days imprisonment
  • Third offence is mandatory minimum 120 days imprisonment
Department of Justice Bill C46 information:


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