Ignition Interlock Program

What is the Reduced Suspension Ignition Interlock Program?

Ontario’s Reduced Suspension Ignition Interlock Program (short for “Reduced Suspension with Ignition Interlock Conduct Review Program”) is a program that allows for individuals convicted of certain driving offences to reduce their licence suspension by complying with certain requirements, such as having an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device is an in-car breath screening device that requires a driver to provide a breath sample prior to starting his or her vehicle. If the device detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.02, the vehicle will be prevented from starting. This device will be regularly inspected by an approved service provider.

If the driver is able to start his or her vehicle, the device will request the driver to provide breath samples at random times while the engine is running. If the driver does not respond to these requests or the driver’s breath sample has a BAC that exceeds 0.02, the device will issue a warning and record the event for the approved service provider. In addition, the device will activate specific alarm systems, such as flashing lights or the horn honking, until the driver turns off the ignition.

A demonstration of how the ignition interlock device works can be found here. (insert hyperlink: http://guardianinterlock.ca/how-interlocks-work)

Am I eligible for the Reduced Suspension Ignition Interlock Program?

A person must meet certain requirements to be eligible for the Reduced Suspension Ignition Interlock Program. The person must have had his or her licence suspended for one (1) year pursuant to section 41 of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act as a result of certain driving offences under the Criminal Code of Canada. These driving offences are

  • Impaired driving (insert “Impaired Driving” hyperlink)
  • Over 80 (insert “Over 80” hyperlink)
  • Refusal to provide a breath sample (insert “Refusal to Provide a Breath Sample” hyperlink)

If a person has been convicted of an impaired driving offence two or more times, his or her licence will be suspended for more than one year. Therefore, only first-time offenders will be eligible for the Program. Under section 43 of the Highway Traffic Act, a first-time offender may have his or her licence suspended for more than one (1) year. If certain preconditions are met, that person may still be eligible for the Program.

The impaired driving offence the person has been convicted must not have involved drugs or the combination of drugs and alcohol. The offence must not have involved bodily harm or death to another person. If within the previous five years of the impaired driving offence the person was convicted of a driving while disqualified contrary to section 259(4) of the Criminal Code, the person will not be eligible for the Program.

Furthermore, the person must not be subject to a court order preventing him or her from driving with an ignition interlock device. If the person was subject to an ignition interlock licence condition on the date of the impaired driving offence, that person will not be eligible for the Program. Finally, the person must not have previously been granted a reduction to ten (10) years of an indefinite licence suspension.

Stream A and Stream B

The extent to which an eligible person’s licence suspension will be reduced is dependent upon whether the person participates in the “Stream A” or “Stream B” division of the program. If the person participates in the Stream A division, that person will be subject to a minimum licence suspension of three (3) months and will required to have the ignition interlock device installed for a period of nine (9) months. If the person participates in the Stream B division, the person will be subject to a minimum licence suspension of six (6) months and will be required to have the ignition interlock device installed for a period of twelve (12) months.

To participate in the Stream A division, a person must meet all of the Program’s eligibility requirements. In addition to this, the person must enter a plea of “guilty” to the offence and be convicted, sentenced, and subject to a driving prohibition order within ninety (90) days of the date of the offence. Anyone who is eligible for the Program but does not meet the additional requirements for the Stream A division will be eligible for the Stream B division.

For more information

More information on the Ontario’s Reduced Suspension Ignition Interlock Program can be found at its website, which can be accessed by clicking here. (insert hyperlink: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/ignition-interlock-conduct-review-program.shtml)

Applicable Legislation – Highway Traffic Act, Ontario Regulation 287/08, s. 25

  1. (1) A person may be required to participate in an ignition interlock conduct review program under this Part if,

(a)  on or after August 3, 2010, the person’s driver’s licence is suspended for a period of one year pursuant to clause 41 (1) (f) of the Act for an offence that is described in clause 41 (1) (b.1) or (c) of the Act; and

(b)  the Registrar is satisfied that,

(i)  the circumstances of the offence did not involve impairment of the person caused by a drug other than alcohol, or caused by a combination of substances that included drugs other than alcohol,

(ii)  an order was made under section 259 of the Criminal Code (Canada) concerning the person and the order does not exclude the person from participating in an ignition interlock conduct review program under this Part,

(iii) the person has completed and signed the written request referred to in subsection 16 (1.1),

(iv)  the person has completed the preliminary assessment referred to in subsection 1 (1),

(v)  the person’s driver’s licence has not been suspended under section 42 of the Act within the five years preceding the suspension referred to in clause (a),

(vi)  the person’s driver’s licence was not, on the date of the offence, subject to a condition requiring the use of an ignition interlock device, and

(vii)  the person’s driver’s licence has not previously been reinstated under subsection 41.1 (2) of the Act.  O. Reg. 163/10, s. 12.

(2)  Despite clause (1) (a), a person is not eligible to participate in an ignition interlock  conduct review program under this Part if the suspension referred to in clause (1) (a) is for an offence under section 255 of the Criminal Code (Canada) as described in clause 41 (1)(b.1) of the Act and the offence involves the causation of bodily harm or death.

(3)  A person is not eligible to participate in an ignition interlock conduct review program under this Part until after the later of,

            (a)  the expiry of the minimum absolute prohibition period described in subsection 259(1.2) of the Criminal Code (Canada); and

            (b)  a day that is at least six months after the person is made subject to an order under section 259 of the Criminal Code (Canada).

(4)  Where a person meets the following requirements, the date described in clause (3) (b) shall instead be a day that is at least three months after the person is made subject to an order under section 259 of the Criminal Code (Canada):

  1. The person enters a plea of guilty to the offence.
  2. The person is then made subject to an order under section 259 of the Criminal  Code (Canada) and the order is made within 90 days of the date of the offence.
  3. Within the minimum absolute prohibition period described in subsection 259 (1.2) of the Criminal Code (Canada), the person submits an application under subsection 41

(4.1) of the Act that is satisfactory to the Registrar.

 (5)  Where the date of the offence is earlier than August 3, 2010 and a person meets the following requirements, the date described in clause (3) (b) shall instead be a day that is at least three months after the person is made subject to an order under section 259 of the Criminal Code (Canada):

  1. The person enters a plea of guilty to the offence.
  2. The person is then made subject to an order under section 259 of the Criminal Code (Canada) and the order is made on or before November 1, 2010.
  3. Within the minimum absolute prohibition period described in subsection 259 (1.2) of the Criminal Code (Canada), the person submits an application under subsection 41(4.1) of the Act that is satisfactory to the Registrar.

Take the next step

If you have been charged with an impaired driving offence, your best approach to the situation is to consult with effective legal counsel. Lakin Afolabi is a criminal defence lawyer in London, Ontario, who has successfully defended many individuals charged with impaired driving. Contact him today for a consultation.

Contact Lakin Afolabi now for a consultation
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