The federal government announced in July that the Yukon is to receive federal money for drug-testing devices as well as for training police officers to test drivers for drug impairment. Tracy-Anne McPhee, the Yukon’s minister of justice, and Larry Bagnell, the MP representing the territory, announced the funding of $2.3 million over a five-year period to finance projects that will support training and purchase of drug testing devices for police officers within the Yukon.
“Yukoners are very familiar with the tragic effects of impaired driving. With the support of the Government of Canada, police officers on the front lines at Yukon will receive the training they need to remove impaired drivers of alcohol and drugs from our road,”Larry Bagnell, Yukon MP
The funding comes from a total source of $81 million previously announced by the federal government to be released to fund public and road safety. The drug-testing devices to be covered by the funding include the Drager DrugTest 5000 and the SoToxa device.
“This is about giving the right tools to the RCMP so that individuals who choose to operate a motor vehicle after they’ve consumed some sort of drug or alcohol will be caught”, said Tracy-Anne McPhee, Yukon’s minister of justice.
The funding will also serve to train officers to perform standardized field sobriety testing (SFST) and drug recognition expert (DRE) evaluations. According to McPhee, two Mounties have been trained in SFST, and 15 more will undergo training soon, with the Yukon’s government planning to train about one-third of its officers by 2023.
“Despite strong efforts by our community and the RCMP, the Yukon continues to have one of the highest rates for impaired driving in Canada. It is vital that we keep our communities safe from drug and alcohol impaired drivers. We will use this funding to work with our partners at the RCMP, First Nations and municipalities to advance important initiatives designed to enhance law enforcement training, capacity building and data collection,”Yukon’s minister of justice, Tracy-Anne McPhee.
Part of the provided funding will be used to finance a data collection project with the aim to develop a national standardized measurement of drug-impaired driving. McPhee notes, “This work is essential and will provide current local trends regarding drug-impaired driving, inform best practices, and assist with focusing resources on problem areas here in the territory.”