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Alberta moves to stop name changes for high-risk, long-term, dangerous offenders

The Alberta Legislature on Aug. 26, 2020. Eric Beck/Global News

Alberta is moving to stop dangerous, long-term or high-risk offenders from legally changing their names.

Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish has introduced legislation in the house to make the change.

Glubish says keeping such offenders from assuming a new identity would provide peace of mind for victims and for other Albertans.

Read more: Saskatchewan bans people convicted of certain sex crimes from changing their names

The bill calls for designated offenders to be banned for life from changing their names, even if the designation were eventually removed.

It builds on amendments made to the Vital Statistics Act last year, which barred some convicted sex offenders from changing their name.

Click to play video: 'Criminal record checks now required to change name in Saskatchewan' Criminal record checks now required to change name in Saskatchewan
Criminal record checks now required to change name in Saskatchewan – Feb 18, 2020

Glubish says he is urging other provinces to make similar changes, because it’s critical to prevent someone from changing a name in one jurisdiction only to move to a new province under a new identity.

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“Every Canadian should be assured of their safety,” Glubish told a news conference Monday before introducing the bill.

“Albertans should not need to wonder or worry about the ability of a violent dangerous offender to legally change their name and to move in next door or down the street without community members being aware of their violent past.”

Read more: Alberta considering rules to stop sex offenders from changing their names

A dangerous offender is someone who has been convicted of a serious personal injury offence such as aggravated assault or manslaughter.

A long-term offender has demonstrated a pattern of sexual offences and is deemed likely to reoffend.

A high-risk offender is someone recently paroled and considered a danger to public safety.

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