Sask. Attorney General 'extremely disappointed' over RCMP refusal to participate in Clare's Law
REGINA -- With Clare’s Law set to come into effect in Saskatchewan on June 29, Saskatchewan’s Justice Minister and Attorney General has written a letter to the federal government expressing his disappointment over recent indication the RCMP will not participate.
Clare’s Law, officially known in Saskatchewan as the Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol, allows police to disclose information that could help protect potential victims of domestic violence by allowing residents to make an application to their local police service for the release of information on their partner’s past violent or abusive behaviour.
The information can also be disclosed to people who believe they could be at risk and those identified by police to be at risk.
Saskatchewan is the first province in Canada to introduce and implement the legislation.
The province says all municipal police forces have agreed to enforcement but notes the RCMP recently indicated it does not plan to participate.
“We are extremely disappointed to have been informally advised this week that the RCMP in Saskatchewan has now indicated its refusal to participate,” reads the letter, sent by Minister of Justice Don Morgan to federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair.
Morgan continues to talk about the RCMP’s involvement in the act’s development and the regulations and protocols within.
“To now be advised that the RCMP, in its capacity as the Saskatchewan Provincial Police Service, is refusing to comply with the process is beyond disappointing,” Morgan writes.
According to the letter, provincial officials said they had not been advised by Monday morning as to why the RCMP has taken the position “other than a reference to an undisclosed legal opinion.”
Saskatchewan RCMP issued a statement on Monday afternoon explaining their position.
“Early on in the discussions and planning for the implementation of Clare's Law, we identified to our partners that there may be some challenges with our participation because unlike municipal police services, the RCMP is subject to federal privacy legislation. The RCMP is continuing to look into the matter, and considering how best it can support Clare's Law objectives within its obligations under the federal Privacy Act,” Saskatchewan RCMP said in a statement.
Saskatchewan RCMP said this decision has not influenced its commitment to keeping local families safe.
“We remain committed to helping any individual with concerns on domestic violence through processes that have always existed for the RCMP,” the statement said.
The letter from Morgan goes on to say the province remains open to establishing a dialogue and urges Ottawa to revisit the RCMP decision, saying the problem “needs to be resolved” as other provinces move to enact similar legislation.
As @SaskMLA states:— Scott Moe (@PremierScottMoe) June 22, 2020
“we have taken this step to recognize both an individual’s “right to ask”... as well as their “right to know” information once the police have it. We think these potential victims have a right to know why the federal government now seems to think otherwise.” pic.twitter.com/vBVkD4SCuR