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Alberta aims to stamp out metal theft with Bill 25

June 19, 2020 | By Anthony Capkun

June 19, 2020 – Alberta says it is taking action to crack down on metal theft by making it more difficult for criminals to sell stolen materials, and imposing tougher penalties on those who do.

“The theft of copper wire and other metals from critical infrastructure—including the electricity sector-can be a fatal mistake for thieves, and risks the safety of our employees and communities across Alberta,” said Scott Yost of Capital Power.

Thieves terrify property and business owners by trespassing and stealing materials such as copper wire and industrial batteries, says the province, and frequently damage and interfere with critical systems like electrical lines, telecom networks and transportation infrastructure.

If passed, Bill 25 “Protecting Alberta Industry from Theft Act, 2020” and associated regulations will require scrap metal dealers to report all transactions involving commonly stolen metals and items to law enforcement.

Amendments to the act and new regulations define the types of metal subject to reporting rules, specify identification requirements for sellers and record-keeping duties for dealers, as well as raising the penalties for anyone who contravenes the act.

The new provisions will be implemented in two stages:

On September 1, new provisions would include a requirement for sellers to provide government-issued photo ID. Dealers would be required to record and retain the seller’s ID information, as well as details of the transaction.

Provisions coming into force November 1 will include requirements for dealers to report transactions to law enforcement, and for all payments to be made using traceable forms of currency, such as electronic transfers or cheques.

Proposed increased fines for contraventions of the Act:

For individuals

• First offence: $10,000 or one year in jail, or both (up from $5000)
• Second or subsequent offence: $25,000 or one year in jail, or both (up from $15,000)

For corporations

• First offence: $50,000 (up from $15,000)
• Second or subsequent offence: $200,000 (up from $50,000)

“Scrap metal theft is an ongoing challenge across rural Alberta with major impacts on many rural business and industries,” said Al Kemmere, president, Rural Municipalities of Alberta. “Bill 25 is an important step toward protecting rural Albertans from the risks of scrap metal theft by developing a centralized database of scrap metal sales.”

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