What We Do - Frequently Asked Questions
I received an email petition accompanied by a poem about a young girl killed by a drunk driver. Is this petition sponsored by MADD Canada?
The petition circulating via e-mail accompanied with the poem titled "I Went to a Party Mom" or “Death of an Innocent” did not originate with nor is it endorsed by MADD Canada.
Your inquiry about this petition shows that you would like to help. Browse our website to learn how you can play a part in MADD Canada's lifesaving work. If you are a MADD Canada supporter, please also consider making a donation to MADD Canada.
Our mission is to stop impaired driving and to support victims of this violent crime. Thank you again for your support.
MADD Canada retains the copyrights for all original materials on the website.
Materials can be used for personal, educational and/or public, non-profit activities. Persons using this site may view or print out a single copy of information if it is for their individual use and used for the purposes of research or self-education, as is accepted activities with Canadian copyright laws.
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The MADD Canada logo is a registered trademark and cannot be reproduced without permission. People who wish to use MADD Canada’s logo, in any manner, must contact the National Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the Local Chapters and Community Leaders section of our website and click on your province or territory for an alphabetical listing of Chapters/Community Leaders by city/region.
Contact the National Office at email@example.com and your email will be directed to your Region’s Chapter Service Manager who will contact you.
In 1989, MADD Canada was formed to create a national network of victims and concerned citizens working to stop impaired driving and to support victims of this violent crime.
Provincial anti-drinking and driving groups started to appear in Canada in the early 1980s. The early pioneers were all victims, who wanted to educate the Canadian public about the human tragedies caused by impaired drivers. These early pioneers included Sally Gribble (whose group in BC received a chapter charter from MADD U.S.), Gladys Armstrong and Pat Baril (PAID in Alberta), Margaret Taylor (CAID in Manitoba), and a PRIDE (Prevent Impaired Driving Everywhere) organization in Ontario. We are indebted to these individuals for their tireless work in support of victims of impaired driving and their courage to help make a difference in their communities.
The PRIDE organization was formed in Ontario in the early 1980s. PRIDE became the catalyst in initiating discussions with MADD U.S. to become the National organization in Canada. John Bates (who was with the PRIDE organization from its start), and other members of PRIDE, successfully negotiated with MADD U.S. to become MADD Canada.
MADD Canada is made up of men, women and young people from all walks of life. And we welcome and encourage everyone willing to join in our efforts to stop impaired driving and to support victims.
No, MADD Canada believes that an individual’s decision to consume alcohol is a private matter but driving after consuming alcohol is a public safety matter.
MADD Canada is grateful for any time or talents you can give our organization, and it's a great way to help ensure the safety of your community. Our local Chapters/Community Leaders offer many volunteer opportunities through their community programs and events.
We encourage you to support MADD Canada's mission by participating in any of our programs or awareness campaigns. A donation or a gift of planned giving can also help make a difference in the lives of others.
To learn more about how you can get involved, or to make a secure credit card donation, visit the Volunteering and Donate sections of this website.
MADD Canada offers free services, resources and referrals to help victims and their families cope with the complex emotional, legal, medical and financial ramifications.
MADD Canada defines a victim of impaired driving as anyone injured or affected by death or injury caused as the result of the actions of a driver under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Victims can call MADD Canada's Victim Services Manager, Gloria Appleby, at 1-800-665-6233, extension 222, where she will address your concerns, answer your questions, and refer you to a MADD Canada Victim Services Volunteer in your area (if applicable) or simply listen.
More information is also available online in the Victim Services section of this website.
MADD Canada has many trained Victim Services Volunteers across the country who support those who have been tragically touched by impaired driving. They are the hand to hold, the shoulder to cry on, the ear that listens and the fountain of information.
MADD Canada’s Victim Services Manager and Victim Services Volunteers:
- Listen to you and allow you to tell your story as many times as you need to.
- Inform you about criminal justice procedures in your community and where possible accompany you to court.
- Inform you about impaired driving laws and victim rights.
- Monitor the court case against the defendant.
- Help you prepare a victim impact statement to present at the sentencing of the offender.
- Help you prepare statements for parole hearings.
As in any tragedy, the words we choose can be strength to a weary soul or salt in an already painful wound. Here are a few tips to help you:
- Avoid statements that minimize the tragedy: "You're lucky that...," "Well, you have other children," "I know just how you feel.”
- Do not minimize how they are feeling or judge them with statements like: "Just forget about it and move on," "Have you forgiven the offender yet?" "Well, it's been six months...” or by changing the subject when they are speaking about their grief.
- Avoid providing unwanted advice, such as: "If I were you, I would...," "You should sue," "When my cousin died, her father went and..."
Do say “I’m so sorry for your loss (injury).” Acknowledge the depth of the grief. Let the person know you share in his or her pain and that you genuinely care about his or her feelings. In the case of death, invite the person to talk about their loved one. Far more powerful than anything that you might say is your willingness to listen. For more information on how to help, check out our brochures.
For more information about MADD Canada's Victim Services, visit the Victim Services section of this website, or call MADD Canada’s Victim Services Manager, Gloria Appleby, at 1-800-665-6233, extension 222.
If you know your neighbour drives impaired, i.e., you witness him/her arriving home and getting out of their car in an intoxicated state on a regular basis, you should contact the local police authority; give them as much information as possible, name, address, make and model of car, licence plate, etc. You may also try Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or http://www.canadiancrimestoppers.org/.
If you happen to be driving and see your neighbour, and you suspect them of driving impaired, or see another suspected impaired driver, call 911. Impaired driving is the #1 cause of criminal death in Canada and, yet, every impaired driving crash is preventable. By calling 911 and reporting suspected impaired drivers to police, all Canadians can play a role in keeping our roads safe and in reducing impaired driving crashes, deaths and injuries.
I have a family member who drinks and drives. I want to stop them, but I don’t want to upset the family by calling the police. Can MADD Canada do something to stop this person from driving impaired?
While we understand that it is a very difficult decision to report a family member who drinks and drives to the police, it is the only way to report the crime. Due to the fact that we do not have first hand knowledge that a crime has been committed, MADD Canada cannot call the police on your behalf.
If this is a close family member, you can also speak to their family doctor, who has the authority to revoke a driver’s licence if they feel they are a risk to themselves or others on the roadways. You can also contact the Ministry of Transportation with your concerns.
In making the difficult decision to report a family member who drives impaired, the life you save may very well be theirs. Please also see our brochure, entitled Understanding the Consequences of a Loved One’s Impaired Driving.
My ex spouse is drinking and driving with our kids in the car, what can I do to stop this and ensure their safety?
Understandably, you feel extremely frustrated and frightened for the safety of your children.
Police can only get involved in a case if there are complaints (at the time they are occurring) to be able to locate and arrest him/her for impaired operation. Additionally, if the police are notified of his/her name, the vehicles s/he drives including licence plate numbers, place of work, work schedule, residence location, then officers can be made aware of who they are looking for and why by way of BOLO (Be on look out). If the police catch him/her and if s/he was impaired they could get a “no alcohol condition” (this would be as a result of criminal charges) put on him/her. Every time s/he drinks after that would be a criminal offence. BUT – they need the info! You need to call every time.
If you believe that s/he is drinking and driving while your kids are in his/her car, or when s/he drops them off, you could also call Children’s Aid, as this would constitute putting the children in physical danger. They would then possibly launch an investigation. You will need to document everything in detail, including dates and times when s/he picks up your children and is suspected to be impaired. Please remember to just report facts “s/he drove up at 6:40 pm on June 6th, I could smell alcohol on his/her breath, s/he was staggering and I felt s/he put my children at risk of being harmed”.
If s/he comes to pick up the kids and is under the influence, having consideration for the children, you do not have to turn over the kids, even if the visitation order says s/he has that right. Police should be called immediately.
If you are in the midst of a custody hearing, you need to stress to your lawyer that you are extremely concerned for the safety of your children, and ask that a "no alcohol" condition be put in the agreement.
I’m concerned that if I contact the police, my ex spouse will take it out on our children. What can I do?
Understandably you are worried that if you contact the police that s/he will “take it out” on the children, however, more concern should be given to the harm s/he is putting them in if you don’t contact the police. Also, if the children are older than 10 or 11 years, they are at an age where they need to know the full impact of his/her behaviour, and the risk s/he is taking every time s/he drinks and drives with them in the car.
You may also want to look for information or a support group with Alateen/Al- Anon.
My son had been drinking at a bar downtown and left his car and took a cab home. The next morning he discovered a parking ticket on his windshield. What can MADD Canada do about this?
First of all, your son is to be commended for not driving impaired. Most parking lots and street parking spaces do have time limitations (anywhere from 2-14 hours), which may result in receiving a parking ticket once the time limit has expired. Your son can choose the option of going to court to explain the situation and contest the ticket, but there is no guarantee that the courts will dismiss the ticket. Unfortunately, MADD Canada does not have any authority in this area, and cannot get Parking Control to reverse the ticket.
The cost of a parking ticket really is a small price to pay when you take into consideration that a conviction of impaired driving would result in high legal fees, a driving prohibition and an insurance rate increase, not to mention the lives that may have been saved from making the right choice to not drink and drive.
Effective 911 programs increase arrest rates for impaired driving by 30%, on average, and we are seeing more and more incidents where police are stopping impaired drivers thanks to calls from citizens. Unfortunately, police are unable to respond to every call. They may be on their way to another emergency call, and by the time they respond to your call, the suspected impaired driver may have arrived at their destination. Police response rate is generally very high and we strongly encourage you to keep calling 911 if you see any other suspected impaired drivers. Also, in an effort to discourage impaired driving, the police may call or visit the person that you reported to let them know that they were reported as driving impaired, and they should seriously think about changing this behaviour.