The Alberta government introduced legislation on Wednesday that formalizes the ban on carding and reforms the rules of street checks.
Bill 63 aims to provide clear definitions of both controversial practices by amending the Police Act. The bill would put the authority of conducting a street check into law, according to the province.
“We’re keeping our commitment to have a clear set of rules to ensure police respect Albertans’ rights,” said Justice Minister and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu in a news release.
“Putting into law the outright ban of carding and making sure there are clear rules around street checks is just one action government is taking to reform policing and combat the legacy of institutional racism that still pervades too many parts of society.”
Street checks are “interactions or observations that result in an officer collecting personal and/or identifying information and entering it into a database for future use,” and carding is “when officers randomly request personal information from a member of the public without reasonable grounds,” the government said.
Street checks can be useful for combatting crime if conducted properly, according to the province.
“With regulations to guide the consistent use of street checks, Albertans can be confident that the practice is done in a way that respects all people’s rights,” it said.
“Regulations would provide clear guidelines on, among other matters, the circumstances in which street checks may be conducted, how information obtained through street checks may be used and retained, police officer training and public education. Under the proposed legislation, data collected through a street check must be provided voluntarily.”
If the bill passes, street check regulations will be developed and implemented this year, the province said.
Alberta banned carding on Nov. 19, 2020.