Manitoba introduces legislation aimed at deterring scrap metal theft

Data suggest that metal theft is an 'increasingly common crime': justice minister

Manitoba introduces legislation aimed at deterring scrap metal theft
Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg, Manitoba

As metal theft cases continues to increase, the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba has introduced legislation to regulate sale and purchase of scrap metal.

The proposed legislation, or The Scrap Metal Act, seeks to protect property and public safety, said Minister of Justice and Attorney General Cameron Friesen in a news release.

Under the proposed legislation, scrap metal dealers will be required to obtain or record identifying information about scrap metal sellers and details of their metal sales transactions. They will also be required to keep the obtained or recorded information and documents at their place of business for a minimum period of two years from the date of the transaction.

Scrap metal dealers will not be allowed to pay cash for scrap metal if the total value of the scrap metal included in the transaction is greater than the prescribed amount.

“In addition to these measures, scrap metal dealers will be required to keep records and produce those records when requested, increasing accountability and providing barriers to those who seek to steal and sell metal items for quick cash,” Friesen said in the release.

According to Friesen, metal theft is an increasing concern in Manitoba that affects public safety and can be “extremely costly” to the public and electricity, construction, telecommunications and industrial sectors. Data suggest that metal theft is an “increasingly common crime” in Manitoba, he added.

But the proposed legislation will be inapplicable to legitimate sellers, including corporations authorized to carry on business in Manitoba and dealers under The Drivers and Vehicles Act. It will not also apply to items at a lower risk of being stolen and resold, such as metal cans or containers used for food, beverages, paint or other household products, coins, bullion and jewellery.

Friesen said that the justice ministry held a two-month public consultation with the public, and most of the respondents were in favour of enacting new legislation on regulating scrap metal sale to combat metal theft.

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