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).

Second breath test

You can request a second breath test on a different instrument to confirm your blood alcohol concentration or a blood test for drugs to confirm your blood drug concentration.

If the results of your second test is less than any prohibited drug/alcohol concentration, your Notice of Administrative Penalty in the IRS: FAIL Program will be cancelled by law enforcement.

If the resuts of your second test is equal to or greater than any prohibited drug/alcohol concentration, your Notice of Administrative Penalty in the IRS: FAIL Program will be confirmed by law enforcement.

Sanctions

Repeat occurrences show a pattern of high-risk driving behaviour and therefore the penalties escalate with each prior occurrence.

If your driver’s licence has been suspended under the IRS: FAIL Program because law enforcement had reasonable grounds to believe you were at criminal-level impairment levels while driving, you will receive the following:

First IRS: FAIL contravention occurrence

  • Two-stage, fixed term driver’s licence suspension consisting of 2 distinct parts:
    1. 90 days where you are unable to drive under any circumstances, and
    2. further 12 month driver’s licence suspension
  • Completion of the Planning Ahead course.
    • If the remedial education requirement is not completed within 450 days from when the IRS: FAIL was issued, you will immediately receive a new indefinite 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%
  • In addition to provincial sanctions, the court may also impose criminal charges and federal penalties for criminal level impaired driving.

Second IRS: FAIL contravention occurrence

  • Two-stage, fixed term driver’s licence suspension consisting of 2 distinct parts:
    1. 90 days where you are unable to drive under any circumstances, and
    2. further 36 month driver’s licence suspension
  • Completion of the IMPACT Program.
    • If the remedial education requirement is not completed within 1170 days from when the IRS: FAIL was issued, you will immediately receive a new indefinite 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%
  • In addition to provincial sanctions, the court may also impose criminal charges and federal penalties for criminal level impaired driving.

Third IRS: FAIL contravention occurrence

  • Two-stage, fixed term driver’s licence suspension consisting of 2 distinct parts:
    1. 90 days where you are unable to drive under any circumstances, and
    2. further lifetime driver’s licence suspension
      • During this further lifetime suspension period, you may participate in Alberta’s IRS: FAIL Ignition Interlock Program and during that term operate a vehicle equipped with an interlock device. If you choose not to participate in the IRS: FAIL Ignition Interlock Program, you will remain suspended and cannot legally drive.
      • Provided you meet the eligibility criteria, you 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%
  • In addition to provincial sanctions, the court may also impose criminal charges and federal penalties for criminal level impaired driving.

Criminal Code (Canada) convictions

If there is no criminal conviction

Federal legislation through the Criminal Code (Canada) and the provincial legislation through the Traffic Safety Act are distinct and separate. In order to obtain a criminal conviction, prosecution bears the burden of proof and must prove the incident occurred beyond a reasonable doubt.

If reasonable doubt is not proven, criminal charges may be dismissed or withdrawn; however, the outcome of any criminal charges does not have any bearing on the provincial suspension under the IRS: FAIL Program. Because law enforcement determined you unsafe at the time of the driving event, your suspension under the IRS: FAIL Program remains in effect for the full suspension term.

If there is a criminal conviction

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

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

  • a federal driving prohibition
    • there may be a certain period of time where you will not be able to drive at all even if you are participating in the Ignition Interlock Program
  • a provincial driver’s licence suspension of 1 year
  • additional reinstatement requirements such as a requirement to participate in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program for 1 year
  • reinstatement fee which can be paid at any Alberta registry agent

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

  • a federal driving prohibition
    • there may be a certain period of time where you will not be able to drive at all even if you are participating in the Ignition Interlock Program
  • a provincial driver’s licence suspension of 3 years
  • additional reinstatement requirements, such as a requirement to participate in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program for 3 years
  • reinstatement fee which can be paid at any Alberta registry agent

If criminally convicted of your third (or subsequent) criminal conviction in a 10-year period, you will also receive:

  • a federal driving prohibition
    • there may be a certain period of time where you will not be able to drive at all even if you are participating in the Ignition Interlock Program
  • a provincial driver’s licence suspension of 5 years
  • additional reinstatement requirements, such as a requirement to participate in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program for 5 years
  • reinstatement fee which can be paid at any Alberta registry agent

File a review with SafeRoads Alberta

Through SafeRoads Alberta, you can:

  • request a review of your contravention under the IRS: FAIL Program
  • request a review of your vehicle seizure under the IRS: FAIL Program

For information on filing a review, please contact SafeRoads Alberta.

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.

Through SafeRoads Alberta, you can:

  • pay your administrative fine
  • request more time to pay

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)

Connect with SafeRoads Alberta:

SafeRoads contact form
Phone: 780-427-SAFE
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)