Overview

The Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) Program of IRS: FAIL is administered under section 88.1 of the Traffic Safety Act and applies to drivers when law enforcement has reasonable grounds to believe that:

  • the driver operated a motor vehicle while their ability to do so was impaired to any degree by alcohol or a drug or by a combination of alcohol and a drug
  • within 2 hours after ceasing to operate a motor vehicle, the driver had a blood alcohol concentration that was equal to or exceeds 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • within 2 hours after ceasing to operate a motor vehicle, the driver had a blood drug concentration  that is equal to or exceeds any blood drug concentration for the drug that is prescribed by regulation under the Criminal Code (Canada)
  • within 2 hours after ceasing to operate a motor vehicle, the driver had a blood alcohol concentration and a blood drug concentration that is equal to or exceeds the blood alcohol concentration and the blood drug concentration for the drug that is prescribed by regulation under the Criminal Code (Canada) for instances where alcohol and that drug are combined
  • knowing a demand had been made, the driver failed or refused, without a reasonable excuse, to comply with a demand made under the Criminal Code (Canada)

For more information, refer to the IRS: FAIL Information Sheet (PDF, 566 KB).

Sanctions

If your driver’s licence has been suspended under the IRS: FAIL Program (where the occurrence date was on or after December 1, 2020) because law enforcement had reasonable grounds to believe you were at criminal-level impairment levels while driving, you will receive:

First IRS: FAIL occurrence

  • Two-stage, fixed term driver’s licence suspension consisting of 2 distinct parts:
    1. 90 days where the suspended driver is unable to drive under any circumstances, and
    2. further 12 month driver’s licence suspension
      • During this further 12 month suspension period, the driver may participate in Alberta’s IRS: FAIL Ignition Interlock Program and during that term, operate a vehicle equipped with an interlock device. If they choose not to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program, the driver will remain suspended and cannot legally drive.
  • Completion of the Planning Ahead course.
    • If the driver does not complete this requirement within the above suspension period, they will receive a new administrative suspension for non-compliance and remain suspended until the remedial education course is completed.
  • 30-day vehicle seizure
  • $1,000 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20%

Second IRS: FAIL occurrence

  • Two-stage, fixed term driver’s licence suspension consisting of 2 distinct parts:
    1. 90 days where the suspended driver is unable to drive under any circumstances; and
    2. further 36 month driver’s licence suspension
      • During this further 36 month suspension period, the driver may participate in Alberta’s IRS: FAIL Ignition Interlock Program and during that term, operate a vehicle equipped with an interlock device. If they choose not to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program, the driver will remain suspended and cannot legally drive.
  • Completion of the IMPACT Program.
    • If the driver does not complete this requirement within the above suspension period, they will receive a new administrative suspension for non-compliance and remain suspended until the remedial education course is completed.
  • 30-day vehicle seizure
  • $2,000 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20%

Third IRS: FAIL occurrence

  • Two-stage, fixed term driver’s licence suspension consisting of 2 distinct parts:
    1. 90 days where the suspended driver is unable to drive under any circumstances; and
    2. further lifetime driver’s licence suspension
      • During this further lifetime suspension period, the driver may participate in Alberta’s IRS: FAIL Ignition Interlock Program and during that term operate a vehicle equipped with an interlock device. If they choose not to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program, the driver will remain suspended and cannot legally drive.
      • Provided the driver meets the eligibility criteria, a driver can apply for driver’s licence reinstatement and removal of the interlock requirement after 10 years. An application does not guarantee a removal of the lifetime suspension.
  • 30-day vehicle seizure
  • $2,000 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20%

Criminal Code (Canada) charges resulting in a criminal conviction could affect your participation in the IRS: FAIL Ignition Interlock Program. If criminally convicted, you may be required to participate in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program.

Regardless of the outcome of any criminal proceedings, the IRS: FAIL suspension will remain in effect and drivers will be suspended for the full IRS: FAIL suspension term. The burden of proof for criminal charges is much higher than administrative sanctions, and as you were deemed unsafe at the time of the event by law enforcement, the administrative suspension under the IRS: FAIL Program will still stand.

If criminally convicted of your first criminal conviction in a 10-year period, you will also receive:

  • a federal driving prohibition
  • a provincial suspension of one year
  • additional reinstatement requirements, such as a requirement to participate in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program for one year

If criminally convicted of your second criminal conviction in a 10-year period, you will also receive:

  • a federal driving prohibition
  • a provincial suspension of 3 years
  • additional reinstatement requirements, such as a requirement to participate in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program for 3 years

If criminally convicted of your third or subsequent criminal conviction in a 10 years, you will also receive:

  • a federal driving prohibition
  • a provincial suspension of 5 years
  • additional reinstatement requirements, such as a requirement to participate in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program for 5 years

Appeals

Immediate roadside appeal

You can request a second breath test on a different instrument to confirm your BAC, or a blood test for drugs to confirm your BDC.

File a review with SafeRoads Alberta

Through SafeRoads Alberta, you can:

  • request a review for your suspension under the IRS: FAIL Program that occurred on or after December 1, 2020
  • appeal a vehicle seizure that occurred on or after December 1, 2020

For information on appeals, contact SafeRoads Alberta.

File for an appeal to Alberta Transportation Safety Board

Through the Alberta Transportation Safety Board, you can appeal a suspension under the IRS: FAIL Program that occurred on or before November 30, 2020:

For information on appeals, contact:

Alberta Transportation Safety Board
Hours: 8:15 am to 12 pm, and 1pm to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-7178 (Edmonton extension 6)
Phone: 403-297-3466 (Calgary)

Fine payment

Starting on January 1, 2021, Alberta’s victim fine surcharge will be included in the total amount of your Notice of Administrative Penalty fine. A victim surcharge is a fine imposed on a person convicted of an offence or who commits a contravention under provincial laws. These funds are used to provide programs, services and assistance to victims of crime and to fund public safety initiatives to deter crime and reduce victimization.

To pay a fine issued under the IRS: FAIL Program, please visit SafeRoads – Find your notice. At this time, this fine cannot be paid at an Alberta registry agent.

Contact

Connect with Driver Fitness and Monitoring:

Driver fitness monitoring contact form

Phone: 780-427-8230
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-422-6612