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New Warn Ranges

Warn Range BAC Suspensions - Questions and Answers

What happened May 1, 2009?

On May 1, 2009, regulations under the Highway Traffic Act that support administrative suspensions come into effect. These regulations will do two things:
?    Replace the current 12-hour warn range Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) suspensions issued by police with recorded escalating sanctions regime that includes longer suspension periods and remedial programs for driving with a BAC in the warn range. Note: police can still suspend the licence of a novice driver with BAC under .05 for 12 hours.
?    Allow police to issue racing/stunt/contest suspensions under Section 172 of the HTA and new warn range BAC suspensions under Section 48 of the HTA without first contacting MTO.

How does the amendment to Section 48 of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) change warn range BAC suspensions?

As of May 1, 2009, 12-hour licence suspensions issued for BACs in the warn range are being replaced by new recorded escalating suspension periods. The 12-hour suspension will remain in effect for novice drivers registering a reading below .05.
?    First occurrence - 3-day suspension
?    Second occurrence within a five-year period - 7-day suspension
?    Third or subsequent occurrence within a five-year period - 30-day suspension

Police are obligated under the HTA to report these suspensions to MTO. MTO will also require drivers to complete remedial programs as follows:

Second Occurrence
Remedial Alcohol Education Program

Third or Subsequent Occurrence
Remedial Alcohol Treatment Program and 6-month ignition interlock condition on driver's licence.

Can an officer issue a 12-hour suspension instead of a 3, 7, or 30-day suspension for driving with a BAC in the warn range?

No. Section 48 of the HTA has been amended and the 12-hour suspension has been replaced with the new escalating sanction regime.  As of May 1, 2009, police no longer have authority under the HTA to issue a 12-hour suspension to drivers with a BAC in the warn range.

What are the suspension criteria?

By an analysis of breath on an approved screening device taken pursuant to a demand made under Section 254 of the Criminal Code of Canada, the person registers "warn" or "alert," or is otherwise shown to have a concentration of alcohol in his or her blood between 50 milligrams and 80 milligrams in 100 milliliters of blood.

A warn range suspension applies to individuals operating a motor vehicle, motorized bicycle, motorized snow vehicle, or vessel. When does the suspension take effect?

?    Warn range BAC suspensions are effective on the date and at the time (24-hour clock) that the driver surrenders his/her driver's licence to the officer.  
?    MTO will issue a new driver's licence once the suspension ends providing the driver is eligible. Drivers cannot appear at the police station to reclaim their licence at the end of the suspension period. Only the Ministry of Transportation may reinstate and issue a driver's licence at the completion of the suspension period.

Is the suspension valid if it is served without a suspension number?

Yes. Like the previous 12-hour suspension issued by police for warn range BACs, this new suspension can be issued without a suspension number. The suspension number is generated by MTO once the suspension is recorded on the driver's record.

Is the suspension valid if it is served with the wrong suspension period?

Yes. The Notice of Suspension form indicates that the period may be longer and directs the driver to the read the back of the notice.

When MTO records the suspension on the driver's record (after receipt of the Notice of Suspension form), if it is determined that the actual suspension period is greater than that issued to the driver, MTO will send the driver a notice of suspension by mail with the correct suspension period.

Are these suspensions recorded on the driver's record/abstract?

Yes. These suspensions will become part of the driver's record and will be included on a driver's abstract for three years.

Does this suspension apply to drivers from other provinces/territories or countries?

Yes. Anyone found to be operating a motor vehicle, motorized snow vehicle, or vessel in Ontario with a BAC in the warn range will be suspended from driving in Ontario. MTO will record suspensions issued to these individuals, creating an Ontario driving record for them where necessary.

Licences from other provinces and countries seized by police as a result of this roadside suspension are to be returned to the Ministry of Transportation (Driver Improvement Office). This includes international driving permits.

Once seized, what is the officer to do with the driver's licence?

Licences from other provinces and countries seized by police as a result of this roadside suspension are to be returned to the Ministry of Transportation (Driver Improvement Office). This includes international driving permits. Send seized driver's licences to:

Ministry of Transportation
Driver Improvement Office
2680 Keele Street
Downsview, Ontario
M3M 3E6

Can the suspension be canceled/rescinded by the officer?

MTO must keep a record of the rescinded suspension and the reason the suspension was removed from the driver's record. Rescind requests must be received by fax or through the suspension cancellation function available on SIMS.

Warn range BAC suspensions can be rescinded with authorization from your Chief of Police or Sergeant. The rescind request must be made in writing to the Registrar of Motor vehicles and on police service letterhead. Rescind requests must provide the reason the suspension is to be rescinded. 

Warn range suspensions can be rescinded for the following reasons:
?    Error, wrong person was suspended
?    Impersonation
?    Suspension does not meet legislated requirements (explanation is required)
?    Second test was below 50 mg

Requests to rescind suspensions must be faxed to the Driver Improvement Office at (416) 327-6799 or (800) 469-7290.

Can the driver appeal the suspension?

There is no appeal process for these suspensions. Drivers who wish to contest the suspension should consult independent legal counsel.

How does the driver get a licence when the suspension ends?

MTO will issue a new driver's licence once the suspension ends providing the driver is eligible. Drivers cannot appear at the police station to reclaim their licence at the end of the suspension period. Only the Ministry of Transportation may reinstate and issue a driver's licence at the completion of the suspension period.