Alberta is introducing a bill that would allow individuals to have access to their partner's criminal record, which is being modelled very similarly to the 'Clares Law' in the United Kingdom.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has stated that this bill could save lives, although noting that it is only "the first step, not the last" While acknowledging the fact that the United Conservative Party campaigned on a promise to take domestic violence in Alberta seriously. The Premier believes that this is a crucial step in moving forward with that promise and delivering a safer Alberta.
If passed, this Disclosure to Protect Against Domestic Violence Act would provide unknowing individuals with the right to ask and the right to know information about their partner that before was unaccessible, such as having access to their criminal record. With the right to know, the proposed act would grant police new powers that would aid in taking a proactive approach to preventing domestic violence while having the right to ask would help to empower at-risk individuals prevent domestic violence before it has the ability to take place.
From 2008 - 2017, there have been 166 deaths in Alberta due to domestic and family violence, while approximately half of all young women and girls who were victims of domestic violence homicide in Canada were murdered by someone with a prior conviction.
The government hopes that with the passing of this bill, their promise to take domestic violence in Alberta seriously can take crucial steps forward in doing so.