Operation Red Nose

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What is Operation Red Nose

Operation Red Nose encourages responsible behavior (in a non-judgmental manner) with regard to impaired driving by enabling communities to provide a free and confidential chauffeur service to their members, the financial benefits of which are redistributed to local organizations dedicated to youth.


In 1984, Jean-Marie De Koninck was a mathematics professor (he still is today) and, in his free time, the head coach of the swim club at Laval University. Wanting to provide bursaries for student athletes, he was looking for an original way to raise funds for his team.

One day, at the end of September 1984, as he was driving, he was listening to a radio show about the serious problems caused by impaired driving. At the time, statistics showed that more than 50% of fatal crashes were caused by motorists who had consumed alcohol.

Next, a bartender came on to talk about a disturbing trend he’d noticed at the bar where he worked. At closing time, many customers didn’t want to leave their vehicle behind and take a cab home not because the cab fare was too expensive, but because every good Quebecker likes to have his car in his driveway and have access to it at all times.

That’s when De Koninck came up with an idea: he’d get his 25 swimmers to offer motorists who had had a few drinks to drive them home in their own vehicle. With the collaboration of the Quebec City municipal police and CHRC radio station, the very first Operation Red Nose campaign was thus launched from December 13th to the 23rd, 1984.

Needless the say, that first campaign was a success, and the Operation Red Nose campaign has been held during every holiday season since 1984. From a mere fundraising idea, De Koninck has developed a road safety campaign which benefits the population all year long.