Justice Minister proposes lower blood alcohol limit for drivers

Published August 11, 2017

Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is urging her provincial counterparts to reduce the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration from 0.08 to 0.05 per cent. She believes this change would help stop drunk driving.  However, we’re concerned it will deter responsible Canadians from going out and having a glass of wine with dinner, which will hurt restaurant businesses and jobs.

Restaurants Canada’s Joyce Reynolds has voiced our concerns in numerous media interviews. We’ve explained that our members encourage responsible alcohol service and want to keep drunk drivers off the road as much as anyone else.


Here’s what we’re saying in the media:

“Joyce Reynolds, a spokeswoman for Restaurants of Canada, which has about 30,000 members, said the evidence shows that the vast majority of impaired drivers who cause deaths had twice the legal limit of alcohol in their bloodstream. A lower legal limit would “discourage someone from coming in and having one glass of wine in a restaurant. They’re not the ones who are causing the havoc on the roads.”

– Joyce Reynolds in the The Globe and Mail, Aug. 9, 2017. Read the full story.


“We want to see dangerous offenders off the roads as much as anyone else does. We take seriously our role on preventing drunk driving,” [Joyce] said. “[But] we don’t think reducing the criminal limit … will contribute to reducing the numbers of accidents and fatalities on the road.”

Reynolds continued that when British Columbia implemented the same decrease, alcohol sales in restaurants dropped by over 20 per cent. 

“We want to see those that are causing those accidents off the roads, but what we want to do is to be able to help consumers understand what causes impairment so that they feel comfortable having a glass of wine when they go out for dinner.”

– Joyce Reynolds in CBC News, Aug. 10, 2017. Read the full story.


Watch Joyce Reynolds on Global News, Aug. 10, 2017. Segment begins at 27:06.


Next steps

Restaurants Canada will present to the federal government on this issue and will continue to speak out. We will update you on any new developments.

Questions? Contact Restaurants Canada’s Paul McKay.


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