The safety of Ontario’s roads and highways is our top priority. We are committed to ensuring a high standard to keep Ontario’s roads among the safest in North America. As you may already be aware, Ontario is making changes to the Highway Traffic Act and its regulations that were enacted under the Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, Schedule 4 and the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act. These amendments include a number of new measures to address the issues of impaired driving, distracted driving and vulnerable road user safety. Of particular note are the new zero tolerance measures for drivers of commercial vehicles. As of July 1, 2018, drivers of commercial vehicles must have a blood alcohol concentration of zero when driving a commercial vehicle. If a commercial driver has alcohol in their system, they will face serious penalties, including licence suspensions and administrative monetary penalties. With the federal government’s intentions to legalize cannabis, zero tolerance drug sanctions will also be effective starting July 1, 2018. It is important to note that the zero tolerance drug sanctions will not be enforced until the Federal Minister of Justice approves and authorizes the use of an approved drug screening equipment. Measures that will take effect September 1, 2018 Vulnerable Road User Safety: Increased penalties for all drivers who fail to yield for pedestrians at crosswalks, crossovers and school crossings and escalating fines for all drivers who are convicted of multiple pedestrian-related offences within a five-year window. The fine range will increase from $150-$500 to $300-$1000 and four demerit points will now be applied instead of three. A new offence for careless driving causing death or bodily harm. Penalties can include up to a $50,000 fine, licence suspensions of up to five years, 6 demerit points and up to two years imprisonment.
Measures that will take effect January 1, 2019 Impaired Driving: Increased administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) for all alcohol and drug impaired drivers and ensure that drivers pay an AMP and a licence reinstatement fee. Escalating AMPs will apply along with a $198 license reinstatement fee for short-term licence suspensions (3, 7, or 30 days): -$250 for a first occurrence. -$350 for a second occurrence. -$450 for a third occurrence. – $550 AMP will apply along with a $198 license reinstatement fee for long- term licence suspensions (90 days). Distracted Driving: Tougher penalties for distracted driving, including escalating fines, demerit points and licence suspensions. Demerit points will now escalate for a second offence from three to six demerit points.