(1) 250.472.8528
andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca

Today in the legislature we debated Bill 14: Sheriff Amendment Act at second reading.

Bill 14 amends the Sheriff Act to provide authority for sheriff services to conduct threat and risk assessments. Sheriffs in some specialized units already conduct threat and risk assessments, but they currently do not have the legislative authority to do so – a gap that this bill closes. In addition, this bill will provide sheriffs with the legislative authority required to continue to maintain access to the Canadian Police Information Centre database for the purpose of conducting their threat and risk assessments.

Below I reproduce the text and video of my brief speech in support of this bill.


Text of Speech


A. Weaver: I, too, rise in support of this bill, Bill 14, Sheriff Amendment Act. This bill makes one significant change to the Sheriff Act, and it provides authority for sheriff services to conduct threat and risk assessments. Sheriffs in some specialized units already conduct threat and risk assessments, but they currently do not have the legislative authority to do so — a gap that this bill closes.

In addition, this bill will provide sheriffs with the legislative authority required to continue to maintain access to the Canadian Police Information Centre database for the purpose of conducting their threat and risk assessments.

It’s really a very short bill. It’s one of four today that I think we’re going to see supported strongly by both sides of the House in all cases.

Section 1 of this bill creates the additional powers for the sheriffs, and if authorized by the director of sheriff services, sheriffs will be able to identify and assess threats or risks to a person, facility, building or property in relation to which they have a power, duty or responsibility.

It moves on to say if authorized by the director, sheriffs may also identify and assess threats or risks to an employee of the government if the employee may be exposed to a threat or risk at the employee’s workplace or in relation to the employee’s work.

And of course, it also allows, for the purpose of conducting a threat or risk assessments, sheriffs to collect personal information and other information, including things like personal information on the Canadian Police Information Centre database — or any other law enforcement database, for that matter— personal information in the custody or control of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which I understand the member for Prince George–Mackenzie used to be working with, or any other law enforcement agency.

I, as other members, am very pleased to speak in support of this bill.

As we know, sheriffs provide for the safety and the security of British Columbians in a variety of ways — by protecting the courts of British Columbia and the participants in the judicial system, employees in the justice system and government, the public and public officials.

Sheriffs are responsible for ensuring the safety of the judiciary, legal counsel, court users, and the public and government employees as well. Sheriffs are also responsible for the safe and secure transportation of accused and convicted persons to and from court. That sheriffs do not have the legislative authority to conduct threat or risk assessments has been identified as a legislative gap — a gap that this bill, as I mentioned, closes.

Sheriffs in some specialized units already conduct threat and risk assessments, as I mentioned, and these assessments inform the security plans and staffing levels required to ensure the safety of all users of our justice system. This is an absolutely critical service that they provide for the safety of all of us.

As I’ve mentioned, this is closing some provisions that are already in practice but not supported through legislation. I’m absolutely delighted to support this legislation and would like to thank the sheriffs in British Columbia for all their work — all of the work they do protecting British Columbians and ensuring smooth operation of our justice system. My only hope is that we can find more of them so that cases before court aren’t dismissed because of the lack of sheriffs in our judicial system.


Video of Speech


Leave A Comment