Under the Criminal Code of Canada, can a person be charged for using a canoe, kayak, or paddle-board while impaired by drug or alcohol?

Yes.

It is now illegal to to paddle dangerously (s. 249 of the Criminal Code), to hit-and-paddle (s. 252), to drunk-paddle (s. 253), or to be impaired with a paddle in hand, i.e., having the care or control of a canoe, even a motionless one, while being impaired (s. 253). The definition of a conveyance for the purposes of these new Criminal Code provisions includes canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, rowboats and stand-up paddle boards as per the decision in R v Sillars.

You can also be charged if you are an impaired passenger of a canoe, kayak, paddleboat, rowboat, or stand-up paddle board, even if you aren’t the one paddling. As long as you are “assisting” in the navigation of the vessel, which can include things like drunkenly yelling “go to that rock!” you can be charged under s. 320.11(4).

Navigate this summer safely.

If you are charged with a criminal offence, call Robichaud’s at 416-999-8389.

Impaired canoe paddle board criminal charged

Learn more.

You can learn more about the changes in impaired driving (or, more accurately, “impaired operation of conveyances”) law by reading our detailed paper on the subject here.