In November, an Ontario judge ruled that canoes are “vessels” under Canada’s Criminal Code, confirming that they’re subject to impaired driving laws.Previously, the code had no clear definition for “vessel.” Our online article about this ruling and the related court case (an ongoing trial related to the drowning death of an eight-year-old boy) generated plenty of discussion on Facebook. You asked: does the ruling apply to other non-motorized watercraft, such as kayaks and SUPs?
The short answer is yes—but it was already illegal to operate canoes, kayaks, etc., while impaired. It’s just that the law has rarely been enforced, says Nathan Baker, a criminal lawyer. “What’s changed is that this ruling has brought the matter to the forefront,” he says. “People forget that the offences of dangerous operation, impaired operation, and operation while over the blood-alcohol limit apply to even non-motorized boats, including canoes... Read More