Province makes criminal record checks mandatory for name changes to prevent sex offenders from changing theirs

REGINA — Those planning to legally change their name in Saskatchewan will now have to undergo a mandatory criminal record check, the province announced Tuesday.

The government says it will make Saskatchewan the first province that might reject a name change because of past criminal offences, including those who are required to register in the National Sex Offender Registry.

The Change of Name Act will now have an amendment requiring a criminal record check for anyone 18 or older.

According to the province, there are 20 offences that would prohibit a name change. Most of those offences are against children, but the province also says changes can be rejected because of previous sexual assault charges and incest against children or adults.

“These changes are about helping to protect the most vulnerable in our society,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said in a news release. “We don’t believe sexual offenders should be able to change their name to avoid public disclosure and scrutiny.”

Name changes will proceed for anyone without a criminal record.

Anyone with a criminal record, or an inconclusive check, will need to be fingerprinted and provide the Registrar of Vital Statistics with an additional check to show offences.

The change of name requirements are posted on eHealth Saskatchewan’s website.

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