Toronto, Sep 22 (Canadian-Media): Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca and provincial Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eleanor McMahon -- joined by Han Dong, MPP for Trinity-Spadina -- on Sep 21 in Toronto announced new tougher rules for road safety, Ontario News Release of Sep 21 said.
Ontario hoped that the introduction of new legislation this fall, if passed, would reportedly protect pedestrians and cyclists from fatalities or injury by impaired, distracted and dangerous drivers.
Ontario reportedly had passed a legislation in May to protect pedestrians and cyclists -- the most vulnerable -- by reducing default speed limits, and by setting speed limits below 80 km/h that are designated as community safety zones or in school zones.
In June 2015, another legislation reportedly was passed by Ontario which to reportedly toughen penalties for offences such as distracted driving.
A road safety symposium was hosted by The Ministry of Transportation hosted in June which was reportedly participated by many municipalities and road safety partners to discuss road safety mdeasures and concerns to help to save lives on Ontario’s roads.
The proposed measures included: Penalties including fines, licence suspension and imprisonment for a new offence for imparied or careless driving causing death or bodily harm; tougher penalties for distracted driving by using a cellphone while operating a vehicle, including higher fines, more demerit points, and license suspensions; Increased penalties for drivers who do not yield to pedestrians and increasing fines for drivers, convicted of multiple charges for pedestrian-related offences within a five-year window; and promoting the use of rear flashing blue lights for enforcement and emergency vehicles.
These strong measures and penalties would be applicable, said the reports, for drivers under the influence of drugs, including cannabis.
“Ontario is taking action to reduce the number of people killed by impaired, distracted and dangerous drivers. These measures will help keep some of our most vulnerable road users safe and help us drive home the message that dangerous, impaired and distracted driving is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated,” Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation was quoted by the media as saying.
According to official reports, one person on average is killed on Ontario’s roads every 17 hours.
Approximately 25 percent of Ontario’s road fatalities In 2014 were reportedly pedestrians and cyclists.
Top-five killers on Ontario’s roads are reportedly due to drunk driving, although -- according to Ontario's most recent roadside survey -- drivers who tested positive for drugs more than doubled the number who tested positive for alcohol.
Authorites feel that Ontario's roads, which have reportedly been ranked either first or second safest in North America for 16 years in a row, should do more for Ontario road's safety.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#Cannabis, #YasirNaqvi, #EricHoskins, #CharlesSousa, #LCBO, #OPP
Toronto, Sept 11 (Canadian-Media): An announcement was made during a press conference last week by Yasir Naqvi, Ontario Minister of Attorney General, Charles Sousa, Provincial Minister of Finance, and Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care that that safe and sensible legislation and retail of recreational cannabis -- a carefully controlled substance -- within the province will be introduced later this fall, media reports said.
Cannabis: Wikimedia Commons
Sousa was quoted by the media as saying, “We are committed to getting this transition right. When it comes to retail distribution, the LCBO has the expertise, experience and insight to ensure careful control of cannabis, helping us to discourage illicit market activity and see that illegal dispensaries are shut down,” Ontario News release said.
Ontario’s approach -- to the legalization of cannabis would reportedly keep in mind practical lessons of other jurisdictions of recently legalized cannabis and province's experience in managing tobacco and alcohol -- will focus on ensuring a safe and sensible transition to federal legalization.
Ontario is reportedly the first province or territory in Canada to publicly announce a comprehensive plan to regulate federally legalized cannabis.
“We’ve heard people across Ontario are anxious about the federal legalization of cannabis. The province is moving forward with a safe and sensible approach to legalization that will ensure we can keep our communities and roads safe, promote public health and harm reduction, and protect Ontario’s young people,” Naqvi was quoted by media as saying.
Key elements that would be included are: The proposed minimum age of 19 to use purchase and possess recreational cannabis and prohibition of its use in public places and workplaces; LCBO will ensure new stand-alone cannabis stores and an online order service and that there will be only one legal retail distributor for cannabis in Ontario and alcohol and cannabis are not sold alongside each other; opening of 150 standalone stores by 2020, including 80 by July 1, 2019 and availability of online distribution across the province from July 2018 onward.
Other elements include prohibition of dispensation of Illicit cannabis by legal retailers; a coordinated and proactive enforcement strategy in coordination with municipalities, local police services, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the federal government to help shut down illegal operations; allowing police to confiscate small amounts of cannabis from people under age 19; development of an integrated prevention and harm reduction approach by education, health and social service providers and educate to support young people and vulnerable not bringing them into contact with the justice system, youth and young adults.
OPP: Twitter handle
The federal government will provide further details with respect to pricing and taxation after focusing on discouraging consumption and eliminating the illegal market.
Ontario would consult closely with municipalities, Indigenous communities, and stakeholders to determine additional details about the retail and distribution system and would undertake a public information campaign in coordination with the federal government.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)