Should the police have the power to demand a breathalyzer test without reason or suspicion of wrongdoing?
On September 18, 2017, CCLA Director of Public Safety, Rob De Luca, made submissions on CCLA’s behalf to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to address several areas of concern with the government’s new impaired driving Bill, including concerns with provisions in the Bill that would authorize random breath testing, increase mandatory minimum fines and maximum allowable penalties, and provide the Crown with “shortcuts” for proving that an accused committed a drug impaired driving offence.
While the Canadian Civil Liberties Association supports the overarching goal of Bill C-46, we view many of the suggested changes as a continuation of previous ill-advised, and at times unconstitutional, government ‘tough on crime’ criminal justice reforms that would do little or nothing to combat impaired driving. We voiced particular concern about the impact that random breath testing will have on individuals who come from minority communities. The current proposal would not limit random breath testing – that is, breathalyzer tests that could be demanded by police without reason – to stationary checkpoints, where discretion is curtailed and therefore the risk of racial profiling or other improper exercises of police powers is reduced. Instead, those who are already disproportionately stopped while driving will now not only be pulled over and questioned, but required to provide a breath sample as well.
You can read more about CCLA’s concerns with Bill C-46, the proposed new impaired driving law, here:
Watch CCLA’s Executive and General Counsel appear before the Senate here:
CCLA in the News:
Toronto Star: Mandatory breath testing is an extraordinary police power
Ottawa Citizen: Here’s why you should worry about the Liberals’ new impaired driving law