June 24, 2020

Saskatchewan And Alberta Call On All Provinces to Make Amendments to Name Change Legislation

Following an announcement that the Government of Alberta will join Saskatchewan in enacting changes to prohibit sex offenders from changing their names, Saskatchewan and Alberta are calling on all provinces to enact similar changes to prevent sex offenders from changing their names anywhere in Canada.

Alberta is now the second province to enact these changes, following Saskatchewan as the first province in Canada to make these changes in February of this year.  Amendments were made to the Regulations for The Change of Name Act, 1995 to introduce criminal record checks as part of the change of name application process for anyone 18 years of age or older.

“These changes were absolutely the right thing to do, and we’re glad to see Alberta following suit,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said.  “We urge other provinces to join Saskatchewan and Alberta to enact similar changes that protect children and other vulnerable individuals from sex offenders trying to avoid scrutiny by changing their name.”

While these changes prevent sex offenders from changing their name in Saskatchewan and now Alberta, they don’t prevent someone from moving to another jurisdiction and changing their name, or changing their name in another jurisdiction and moving to Saskatchewan or Alberta.

“Protecting our loved ones requires a joint effort between law enforcement and human services professionals,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said.  “We are hopeful that our colleagues across Canada will join us in this important endeavor.”

Under the Regulation changes implemented in Saskatchewan in February, more than 20 different offences prohibit someone from changing their name in Saskatchewan, including sexual assault and incest.  The designated offences are set out in subsection 490.011(1) of the Criminal Code, and are the same offences that would require registration in the National Sex Offender Registry.