EDMONTON — Alberta is moving to stop convicted sex offenders from being allowed to legally change their names.
Nate Glubish, the minister in charge of Service Alberta, has introduced legislation to make such name changes illegal.
Glubish says the goal is to keep communities safe, adding that if victims must live with the scars of the assault, then the perpetrators can live under their own names.
Currently, Albertans who want to change their names must get a fingerprint check, but sex offenders can still change their names if they meet all legal requirements.
Glubish’s bill mandates that applicants now get a criminal record check and anyone convicted of sexual offences will be rejected.
Alberta would then join Saskatchewan in implementing such a name-change ban.
“Our government is committed to ensuring that families are safe, secure, and protected,” Glubish told the house Wednesday after introducing Bill 28.
“If passed, this bill will prohibit convicted sex offenders from being able to legally change their names and hide in our communities.”
Both Alberta and Saskatchewan are formally urging other provinces by letter to get on board with similar rules given that sex offenders can still change their name in one province, then move to Alberta or Saskatchewan and live legally under the new name.
In Regina, Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan said, “the concern is somebody moving from province to province changing their name in another jurisdiction and that was one of the triggering events that happened in Saskatchewan.
“We think (the law) is an appropriate thing to do to ensure that a person can’t simply mask their identity by a name change.
“(It) doesn’t mean that a person isn’t entitled to redemption or moving on, but to simply change your name and avoid the problem is not a matter that we think is having good safety for our citizens.”
— with files from Stephanie Taylor in Regina
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2020.
Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press