Regulation changes allow RCMP to start participating in Clare's Law

·2 min read
Pictured in closeup is the RCMP car insignia showing a mounted police officer in silhouette. (Matthew Howard/CBC - image credit)
Pictured in closeup is the RCMP car insignia showing a mounted police officer in silhouette. (Matthew Howard/CBC - image credit)

The RCMP will now be able to participate in Clare's Law in Saskatchewan and Alberta, thanks to regulation changes by the federal government.

Saskatchewan adopted Clare's Law, or the Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protection Act, in 2018. It allows the police to warn people if their partner has a history of abusive behaviour. This history can include criminal convictions or police responses to domestic violence complaints.

People who can apply for information about whether their intimate partner has a history of domestic violence and police can also proactively provide information if they feel a partner is at risk.

Saskatchewan was the first province in Canada to implement the law, named after a U.K. woman who was murdered by her ex-partner in 2009. Alberta followed suit in 2019, and Newfoundland and Labrador is working on implementing similar legislation.

The RCMP declined to participate when these laws were first passed, citing federal privacy laws and the need to figure out logistics.

In the interim, people who lived in RCMP-policed communities had to request the information from their closest municipal police force, which was then responsible for obtaining the information from the RCMP.

The federal government has now announced that, after consultations with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and federal and provincial governments, the RCMP regulations have been amended and RCMP are now free to share this type of information.

"Now, no matter where you live in Canada, the RCMP will be able to fully support victims and survivors of intimate partner violence where provincial and territorial governments enact this legislation," RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said in a news release. "With these steps, the RCMP is demonstrating our commitment to keeping families and communities safe."

As of January, six people in Saskatchewan have applied for information since the law came into force in June.

The RCMP is currently finalizing privacy impact assessments, which it says are necessary for any new programs that include the disclosure of personal information, so it can fully participate in Clare's Law.