Federal limits for alcohol

In all Canadian provinces, the maximum legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for fully licensed drivers is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood or 0.08. Driving with a BAC of over 0.08 is a criminal (federal) offence and the penalties are severe.

Provincial limits for alcohol

In Alberta, and in most other Canadian jurisdictions, if your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.079, you will also face provincial consequences through the Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) Program of IRS WARN.

The IRS WARN program applies to drivers when law enforcement has reasonable grounds to believe that a driver operated a motor vehicle with a BAC that is equal to or exceeds 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

For more information, please refer to the IRS WARN information sheet.

Sanctions

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

First occurrence since September 1, 2012

You will receive:

  • an immediate 3-day driver’s licence suspension where you are unable to drive under any circumstances
  • a 3-day vehicle seizure
  • a $300 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20%

Second occurrence since September 1, 2012

You will receive:

  • an immediate 15-day driver’s licence suspension where you are unable to drive under any circumstances
  • a 7-day vehicle seizure
  • a $600 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20%

You will also be required to complete:

If you do not complete the remedial education course requirement within the above suspension period, you will receive a new administrative suspension for non-compliance and remain suspended until the course is completed.

Third and subsequent occurrence since September 1, 2012

You will receive:

  • an immediate 30-day driver’s licence suspension where you are unable to drive under any circumstances
  • a 7-day vehicle seizure
  • a $1,200 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20%

You will also be required to complete:

If you do not complete the remedial education course requirement within the above suspension period, you will receive a new administrative suspension for non-compliance and remain suspended until the course is completed.

Appeals

Immediate roadside appeal

At the time of occurrence, you can request a second breath test on a different instrument for alcohol to confirm your BAC at roadside.

Reviews

Through SafeRoads Alberta, you can request a review of your:

  • impaired driving administrative penalties
  • vehicle seizure

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

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)