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Digest of the Week — Constitutionality of Interim License Suspension

Sahaluk v. Alberta (Transportation Safety Board) |
2015 CarswellAlta 343 |
Alberta Court of Queen's Bench

Motor vehicles | Offences and penalties | Suspension of licence | Miscellaneous

Applicants brought application to challenge constitutionality of s. 88.1 of Traffic Safety Act ("Act") — Provision led to operator's licence being suspended until alcohol-related driving charges that triggered licence suspension were resolved or Safety Board lifted suspension — Application dismissed — Section 88.1 of Act did not charge person whose licence was suspended upon laying of charge for alcohol-related criminal offence with anything — It was mechanism which assigned important administrative consequence to determination by police officer that alcohol-related driving charge under Criminal Code was warranted — It was Criminal Code that authorized peace officer to charge person with criminal offence — Disposition of such charge must occur within framework of rules that complied with s. 11 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — Accused charged with alcohol-related driving offence was presumed innocent until proven guilty — Impugned protocol stipulated that holder of valid operator's licence cannot rely on it to lawfully operate motor vehicle if he or she was accused of having contravened ss. 253, 254(5) or 255 of Criminal Code until specified conditions occur — Suspension was lifted upon earlier of one of two conditions: first, either determination by Safety Board that physical and mental elements of offence had not been established; or second, determination of alcohol-related criminal charges wherein accused may plead guilty, be acquitted or convicted after trial, or prosecutor may withdraw charges.
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