Drinking and Driving Rules in Canada

Drinking and Driving Rules in Canada

Impaired driving laws vary for each Canadian province. However, most provinces implement a blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08%. 

Generally, this BAC level is equivalent to two standard alcoholic drinks, but this amount can also vary as people have different responses to alcohol. Some provinces, like British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta, have stricter rules with a BAC limit of 0.05%.

This article provides general information about BAC limits for each Canadian province and territory and potential penalties.

If you want to visit a particular province, please read the entire article because each location’s limitations, legislation, and fines vary.

British Columbia

Drink and drive laws in BC Canada

In British Columbia, the government implements a BAC limit of 0.05%. If you are caught driving while impaired with alcohol or drugs, you may face the following penalties:

  • Suspension of driving privileges for 24 up to 90 days
  • Impoundment of vehicles
  • Paying fines ranging from $600 and $4,060.
  • Imprisonment
  • Rehabilitation 
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)

Read more about drink and drive laws in BC here.


Drink and drive laws in Alberta Canada

Alberta also enforces a 0.05% BAC limit. If someone is found guilty of impaired driving in Alberta, they may face various penalties such as:

  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Paying fines
  • Imprisonment

The province enforces other roadside sanctions depending on the impaired driving case. Know more about BAC limits and impaired driving rules in AB here.


Drink and drive laws in Ontario Canada

The legal BAC limit in Ontario is less than 0.08% gram. Reaching or exceeding this limit is illegal and punishable by law.

If you are found to have exceeded the legal BAC limit while driving, you may face the following penalties.

  • License suspension
  • Fines and reinstatement fees
  • Enrollment in an alcohol education or treatment program
  • Vehicle seizure
  • More harsh sanctions following conviction

Learn more about Ontario’s impaired driving laws and BAC limits in our full article.


Drink and drive laws in Quebec

Quebec implements a 0.08% BAC limit. Violating impaired driving laws in Quebec may result in the following punishment:

  • Up to 90 days of immediate license suspension
  • Up to 90 days of vehicle impoundment
  • Usage of an ignition interlock device
  • Possible extension of suspension depending on the nature of the case

Read our full article about the drunk driving laws in Quebec.

Nova Scotia

Drink and drive laws in Nova Scotia Canada

Nova Scotia also enforces a 0.08% legal BAC limit in the province. Some penalties that an impaired motorist may face in Nova Scotia are listed below.

  • Fines between $600 and $2000
  • Driving privileges revocation
  • Completion of a program of evaluation
  • Fees for license reinstatement

Learn more about the BAC limits and impaired driving laws in Nova Scotia here.

New Brunswick

Drink and drive laws in New Brunswick Canada

The BAC limit in New Brunswick is set at 0.05%. If you are detected driving with a 0.05% blood alcohol level or higher, you will be arrested, and your license will be suspended. Other penalties that can be imposed are:

  • License suspension from seven (7) to thirty (30) days
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Mandatory installation of ignition interlock 

Check our full article to learn more about New Brunswick’s drunk driving regulations.


Drink and drive laws in Manitoba Canada

Manitoba enforces a BAC limit of 0.50%. Impaired driving in the province can result in punishment. Going above the permissible blood alcohol content level can result in a prison sentence and other penalties such as:

  • Installation of IID 
  • Up to $2,000 fine
  • Suspension of driver’s license for up to 60 days

Read our article about Manitoba’s impaired driving laws here.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island drink and drive laws

On Prince Edward Island, the legal BAC level is 0.08%. Depending on your age, gender, size, and other characteristics, this limit can be equivalent to two to three alcoholic drinks. Impaired drivers may face the following punishment:

  • License suspension for up to five (5) years
  • Undergoing a driver risk assessment
  • Jail time
  • Mandatory use of IID
  • Impoundment of vehicle

Check out our full article to know more about these penalties, including BAC limits and drunk driving laws on Prince Edward Island.


Drink and drive laws in Saskatchewan

Drivers in Saskatchewan must abide by the province’s BAC limit of 0.08%. However, you should know that you can still be apprehended for driving a 0.04% BAC level. Violating the impaired driving laws in Saskatchewan may lead to the following punishment:

  • License suspension
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Participation in an alcohol awareness education program
  • Installation of ignition interlock

Know more about these penalties and Saskatchewan’s drunk driving laws here.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Drink and drive laws in Newfoundland and Labrador

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the province implements a 0.05% BAC limit. Penalties for drinking with a BAC of 0.05% may not deter people from drinking alcohol, but they may discourage binge drinking. 

Here are some punishments an impaired driver may face in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • Suspension of driver’s license from two to six months
  • Fines
  • Mandatory alcohol and drug dependency evaluation
  • Installation of IID
  • Impoundment of vehicle

Read more about Newfoundland and Labrador’s BAC limits and impaired driving laws here.


Drink and drive laws in Nunavut

Nunavut’s legal BAC limit is 0.05%. In 2019, Nunavut had the lowest rate of impaired driving among the territories. Offenders of the impaired driving laws in this territory may face the following penalties:

  • Administrative license suspensions or disqualifications 
  • Imprisonment
  • A minimum fine of $1,000

To learn more about impaired driving laws in Nunavut, check our full article here.


Drink and drive laws in Yukon

Yukon implements a BAC limit of 0.08%. Driving while impaired by alcohol has penalties and punishments in Yukon, just like it does in the rest of Canada. Overindulging in alcoholic beverages can result in the following consequences:

  • license suspension
  • vehicle impoundment
  • jail time, and
  • fines, among other sanctions.

Find out more about drunk driving in Yukon in our full article.

Northwest Territories

Drink and drive laws in Northwest Territories

In the Northwest Territories, the BAC limit is 0.08%. The NWT government has enhanced impaired driving legislation to address drunk driving-related incidents.

Impaired driving penalties in Northwest Territories include the following:

  • Administrative license suspension and denial
  • Minimum sentence of 30 days in prison
  • A minimum fine of $1,000

You can check our full article about Northwest Territories’ BAC limits and impaired driving laws.

Please be advised that this post intends to increase awareness about impaired driving laws in Canada. This site does not encourage drinking and driving in any province or state.

It is also worth noting that people have different body responses to alcohol consumption. There are various factors that affect one’s BAC levels. Hence, the quantity of alcohol consumption indicated in our articles is a mere estimation and may not be applicable to everyone.

You can use a BAC chart or BAC calculator to help you estimate your BAC level. However, the best method to use to know your accurate BAC is an alcohol breathalyzer. 

Obeying Impaired Driving Laws in Canada

Driving under the influence or impaired due to alcohol or drugs is hazardous. It may cause accidents that will not only harm you but also other motorists. 

Canada’s Annual National Data Report shows that 79% of all impaired driving incidents in 2021 involved alcohol-impaired drivers. Additionally, the number of accidents per 100,000 people fell from 183 in 2019 to 146 in the same year.

The Canadian government is doing its best to minimize alcohol impairment-related accidents to ensure the safety of all citizens.

It is essential to know and understand the risks of impaired driving. As much as possible, restrict yourself from drinking alcohol if you are driving. If you are drunk, you may consider other transportation alternatives like taxis, car-hailing apps, or calling a friend to drive for you.

Make it a habit to check the most recent BAC limits and impaired driving laws in the province before traveling.