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Clare’s Law to come into effect in Saskatchewan on June 29

Clare’s Law to come into effect in Saskatchewan on June 29
WATCH: Municipal police across Saskatchewan will soon be able to disclose information that could help protect potential victims of interpersonal violence. But as Roberta Bell reports, the RCMP won't be subject to the new provincial law when it takes effect next week.

Municipal police forces throughout Saskatchewan will soon be able to disclose information that could help protect potential victims of interpersonal violence.

However, the RCMP have said they will not participate when Clare’s Law comes into effect on June 29.

The Saskatchewan government said the Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol Act (Clare’s Law) gives people in the province an opportunity to receive information regarding an intimate partner’s past violent or abusive behaviour.

READ MORE: Groups question impact new Clare’s Law will have in Saskatchewan

Residents will be able to make an application to their local municipal police department.

“The government of Saskatchewan is committed to addressing issues of domestic and interpersonal violence,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said.

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“We hope that by implementing ‘Clare’s Law,’ we can inform those at risk and help protect them from potential violence and abuse.”

Clare’s Law works as a “right to ask, right to know” system, meaning it’s in place to protect anyone who believes they may be at risk from an intimate partner.

The province said it’s consulted with municipal police services throughout Saskatchewan along with the Provincial Association of Transition Houses to provide proper training on how to process Clare’s Law applications, in accordance with legislation.

READ MORE: Sask. government introduces domestic violence police disclosure legislation

“We have been part of figuring out the protocol and the steps that will be taken when someone does make that disclosure request,” said Crystal Giesbrecht, PATH’s director of research and communications.

“We are just really glad that this is going to be another tool that’s going to help some people who are at risk. I think Clare’s Law will have a real significant impact for people who may be concerned, who may be experiencing some risk factors, or have seen some warning signs.”

In a press release, the province said there will be a “stringent review process to ensure that the disclosure of information does not violate privacy legislation.”

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All municipal police departments in Saskatchewan will be following Clare’s Law.

On Monday, RCMP responded to Global News with a statement on why it won’t be participating.

“We have been, and continue to be, supportive of this initiative.  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,” RCMP’s statement read.

READ MORE: Alberta introduces ‘Clare’s Law’ bill that will allow access to partner’s criminal records

“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.  This hasn’t impacted our commitment to keeping families and communities safe and we will continue to work in a cooperative manner with our partner agencies and government departments to seek solutions to the serious problem of domestic violence.”

The province said it is attempting to reach federal ministers to ask them to review RCMP’s decision.

Morgan wrote a letter to Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair regarding the situation.

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Other provinces that have already introduced similar legislation including Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Saskatchewan first introduced Clare’s Law in the fall of 2018 and it passed unanimously in the spring of 2019.

Groups question impact new Clare’s Law will have in Saskatchewan
Groups question impact new Clare’s Law will have in Saskatchewan