Alberta introduces legislation to improve access to crime data

If passed, proposed legislation would be first of its kind in Canada

Alberta introduces legislation to improve access to crime data
Alberta Legislature Building in Edmonton, Alberta

The Alberta government has introduced legislation to increase transparency and accountability relating to the criminal justice system in the province, announced the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General.

Bill 9, or the Public’s Right to Know Act aims to help the public understand the impact of crime and the criminal justice system in the province and enable policymakers at various levels to make evidence-based decisions toward better outcomes and safer communities.

Under the proposed legislation, currently available metrics, such as police-based crime data, will be reported annually by tabling a report in the legislature and publishing them on the provincial government website.  

“People have a right to know what’s going on in their communities and this legislation would give them easier access to more information about crime statistics in the province,” Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Tyler Shandro said.

The proposed legislation will also authorize the provincial government to obtain and publish additional data through information-sharing agreements with the federal government, other provinces and territories, municipalities, and police services.

Moreover, the proposed legislation will allow the government to highlight metrics that are of most concern to people, such as data about violence, serious crimes, and property offences, and reduce red tape by making it easier for the public to determine how crime affects their communities.

“Access to reliable data is critical to community safety and well-being,” said Jan Fox, REACH Edmonton Council for Safe Communities executive director. “When we give reliable data to community members, we empower them to better prioritize and direct their efforts in ways that are efficient and maximize resources.”

The ministry said that the proposed legislation, if passed, is expected to come into force in the 2022 fall legislative session and would be the first of its kind in Canada.

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