November 14, 2018

Seizure of Criminal Property Amendment Act Introduced

The Government of Saskatchewan is taking steps to strengthen the civil forfeiture program by expanding the serious forms of criminal activity that are covered by the Seizure of Criminal Property Act.

“We are committed to ensuring property is taken out of the hands of criminals,” Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell said.  “These changes will broaden when that can be done and in turn, provide support to victims of crime and other community safety initiatives.”

Currently, the Act sets out a number of instances where it is presumed that property is an instrument of unlawful activity, and thus subject to forfeiture.  In those instances, an onus is placed on the defendant to demonstrate that the property should not be subject to forfeiture.

The proposed amendments would ensure the following are also covered under the legislation:

  • Property that was previously subject to a community safety order under The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act;
  • Vehicle owners with a history of impaired driving suspensions;
  • Gang or terrorist activity involving prohibited and restricted firearms; and
  • Matters involving sexual offences, including sexual offences with child victims.

These changes align with approaches that are being explored and implemented in other jurisdictions.  This will help ensure that the most harmful and serious forms of criminal activity are properly covered under the civil forfeiture program.