CASE LAW - R v Ashir

BC Courts Coat of ArmsThe case of R v Ashir answers the question "Do I have to slow down in a school zone if it is a Pro-D Day?" The definition of "a regular school day" was examined by Judicial Justice Gordon during the dispute of a traffic ticket for speeding in a school zone on Oswego Street in Victoria.

Abdul-Razzak Ashir was checked driving at 48 km/h in the posted 30 km/h school zone in the 100 block of Oswego Street during school hours on Thursday, June 11, 2009. In his defence, he raised the issue that Crown had not proven the offence date was a regular school day.

Justice Gordon decided what a school day would be using this logic:

[11] In my view, “regular school day” has a broader meaning in section 147 (1) than whether on the specific day, there were students in attendance. I conclude “regular school day” has a statutory meaning, not a factual meaning. That expression is not defined in either the Interpretation Act or the Motor Vehicle Act. So I have taken my guidance from the School Act, RSBC 1996 c.412, and its Regulations. Section 1 of the School Act defines school day as “any one of the days in session” and days in session (abridged) as “the days in a school year in which teachers are scheduled, in the school calendar, to be available”. I found the School Calendar Regulation, B.C. Reg. 114/2002, to be of greatest assistance. Section 6 of that Regulation requires a Board to operate each school in accordance with the school calendar. Schedule I (Supplement) to the Regulation sets out the school calendar for 2008 / 2009 and it lists March 23 as the day that school reopens after Spring Vacation and, with the exception of 3 single-day holidays not relevant to this matter, June 26 as the day school closes.

Mr. Ashir was convicted for speeding in the school zone.

2021 Update

Since that time, both the School Act and the School Calendar Regulation have been amended.

"Regular School Day" is no longer defined in the Act. The time period now defined is a School Year:

"school year" means the period beginning on July 1 and ending on the following June 30;

The School Calendar Regulation defines both a Day of Instruction and Days in Session:

"day of instruction" means, in respect of any school, a day in a school calendar year in which students receive instruction in an educational program;

"days in session" means, in respect of any school, the days in a school calendar year on which the principal, vice principals, directors of instruction and teachers of the school are scheduled to be available for instructional, non-instructional or administrative activities;

For decades, a school zone would only be in affect between 8:00 am & 5:00 pm, on days when school was regularly held. 

Schools and playgrounds

147 (1) A person driving a vehicle on a regular school day and on a highway where signs are displayed stating a speed limit of 30 km/h, or on which the numerals "30" are prominently shown, must drive at a rate of speed not exceeding 30 km/h while approaching or passing the school building and school grounds to which the signs relate, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., or subject to subsection (1.1), between any extended times that are stated on the signs.

(1.1) Extended times under subsection (1) may not begin later than 8 a.m. or end earlier than 5 p.m.

(2) A person driving a vehicle on a highway must drive the vehicle at a rate of speed not exceeding 30 km/h when approaching or passing, between dawn and dusk, a public playground for children where signs are displayed stating a speed limit of 30 km/h, or on which the numerals "30" are prominently shown.

But these days, municipalities may extend those hours (though not reduce them) which makes a lot of sense if kids are typically present using the playing fields and other facilities at the time.