Article by Brian Platt, National Post
The federal government’s crackdown on drug-impaired driving has taken a big step forward, as the Justice Department is set to give its blessing to Canada’s first roadside saliva test.
Once in use, police officers will be able to swab a driver’s mouth to test for the presence of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
Roadside saliva-testing devices were authorized by Bill C-46, a massive overhaul of Canada’s impaired driving laws that passed in June.
But before police could order any devices, a model had to be approved by Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould — and she has been waiting for the advice of an independent committee made up of toxicologists and traffic safety experts.
That advice has finally come, and Wilson-Raybould has now given 30-day notice of a ministerial order to approve the Draeger DrugTest 5000, produced by a company based in Germany. The device is already approved in other countries, including the United Kingdom and Germany, though a Justice Department spokesperson noted it may be configured differently to meet Canadian standards.
The notice to approve the Draeger device means it was tested in a National Research Council laboratory and passed an evaluation by the Canadian Society of Forensic Science. It’s possible more devices will be approved for use later on.