Alberta urges federal minister to ensure RCMP enforces new domestic violence law

Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu wants the RCMP to enforce a law passed to protect victims of domestic violence when it is proclaimed next year. 

“Disclosure to Protect Against Domestic Violence Act” or Clare’s Law was passed by the Alberta legislature in October 2019. The legislation is expected to come into force in April 2021. 

In a letter sent to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair,  Madu expressed his concern that RCMP officers in Saskatchewan still aren’t enforcing that province’s Clare’s Law, which came into effect in June. 

“We request that you immediately work with the RCMP to revisit any such decisions to ensure that they help prevent intimate partner violence by complying with Alberta’s Clare’s Law,” Madu wrote. 

“If, as has been reported, there are concerns with privacy, Alberta’s government is open to working with you and the RCMP on adjustments that can be made at either level to ensure we can protect Albertans from violence and victimization.” 

Clare’s Law is named after Clare Wood, a woman in the United Kingdom who was murdered by a former partner with a violent past. 

Under both the Saskatchewan and Alberta legislation, a person can apply to police for information about a partner’s history with abuse and violence. Police can also proactively warn people about their partner’s past record. 

While municipal forces in Saskatchewan are following the law, the RCMP said it couldn’t comply because it was subject to federal privacy legislation.

In Alberta, a working group,which includes representation from Justice and Solicitor General, RCMP and municipal police forces was formed in January to develop a protocol for disclosing information across the province in a consistent manner. RCMP K Division spokesman Fraser Logan says the group is still meeting. 

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