Saskatchewan exploring options on restricting some name changes

Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan is asking two departments to review options after high-profile criminals change names. File / Global News

Saskatchewan’s justice minister is calling on two government departments to look at new options, including criminal record checks, when someone applies for a name change.

Don Morgan is asking for the review after Global News uncovered several convicted criminals had legally changed their names.

“Those public disclosures are made for the purpose of public safety, so the public knows that an individual is there, knows what the risks (are),” Morgan said.

“We can’t have a process of someone simply changing their names to avoid that.”

READ MORE: Convicted Sask. sex offender Justin Gryba changes name

Justin Gryba, who has served time twice for child pornography related cases, legally changed his name to Justin Pasloski.

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Gryba pleaded guilty to charges in 2012 and was sentenced to two years in jail.

He was released into the community and arrested in 2014 on more child pornography charges after further police investigation found over 17,000 child pornography images and 1,100 videos on his computer devices seized during his initial arrest.

He was sentence to two years less a day in March 2016 on the new charges.

Gryba was granted his name change in February of this year.

In another case, the Saskatchewan Internet Child Exploitation Unit charged Gabriel Michael Fisher with a number of child porn related offences less than three months ago.

Fisher, formerly known as Kevin Daniel Hudec, was arrested on March 29 in Regina and had already been designated a long-term offender.

And Alexa Emerson, the woman responsible for white powder package scares and bomb threats in Saskatoon, legally changed her name from Amanda Totchek in June 2015.

READ MORE: Convicted criminals change names to cover up past

In Saskatchewan, name change applicants are only required to be at least 18 years of age, reside in the province and be entitled to stay in Saskatchewan.

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eHealth, which administers name changes, cannot currently access the National Sex Offender database, which is tightly controlled by police forces in the country.

Morgan is asking the Ministry of Health and eHealth to explore several options when someone applies for a name change, which could include a criminal record check, to ensure public safety.

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