Not every arrest for drunk driving in Canada was because someone got drunk and drove a truck, car, or van. Some Canadian impaired driving charges are the result of someone driving a vehicle they might not consider a ‘motor vehicle’ at all.
Ride on lawnmowers, ebikes, tractors, and boats all fall under the Canadian Criminal Code definition of a vehicle, and that means you can receive the same charge you would if you were driving your car. But one type of vehicle that did fall under the Criminal Code was being considered for removal, and if it was it may have meant more drunk canoeists on the lakes in Canada.
As the Federal Government preps to change the Criminal Code of Canada via Bill C-46, they plan on including harsher restrictions for both alcohol and drugged driving. At the same time, they were also taking a look at different types of Canadian impaired driving charges that they felt could be removed. One of those clauses dealt with canoes.
It was proposed the law remove canoes as one of the water-going vessels considered for a drunk driving charge, and there would be a change to the wording in the Canadian Criminal Code to reflect how you be couldn’t be charged in a water-going vessel propelled by muscular power.
Long story short, if you can use your arms to move your boat and not a motor, the Federal Government didn’t believe you should be charged with drunk driving in Canada. If you think that’s not a big deal, think again. There have been numerous people charged for impaired driving in Ontario because they were drunk in a canoe, and the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) didn’t want it removed at all.
The CSBC said that removing that language will make it more difficult for them when they launch public awareness campaigns about boating under the influence. Without the law saying it’s illegal to drive a boat of any kind drunk, they may have a harder time stopping people from doing so.
At the end of the day, MP’s listened to the CSBC. On September 28th they published their intention to remove the charge of drunk canoeing from impaired driving laws, on October 5th they published their intention to leave it as is.
This type of back and forth could be just the beginning of the upheaval as the Federal Government debates changes to drunk driving laws in Canada. With marijuana legalization less than a year away, the pressure is on to make sure every where people drive, from roads to water ways, are as safe as possible.