Modernizing justice and policing

The Justice Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (Bill 38) will recognize the importance of First Nations policing in Alberta, modernize the justice system and help deter crime.

Status: Bill 38 received royal assent on December 9, 2020
Ministry responsible: Justice and Solicitor General


Bill 38, The Justice Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 changes 6 pieces of legislation to make the justice system more effective and responsive to the needs of Albertans.

Key changes

Bill 38 updates the following legislation:

Police Act

  • Acknowledges the valuable role First Nations policing plays in our province, helping to ensure First Nations police services and communities benefit from efforts to modernize policing.
  • Ensures future changes resulting from the current Police Act review apply to First Nations police services and communities.
  • Aligns the census data source for calculating policing costs for municipalities of more than 5,000 people with the Alberta government standard.

Jury Act

  • Allows juror summons to be sent electronically, such as through email.
  • Removes the need to use a regulated juror summons form.

Queen’s Counsel Act

  • Expands the qualification requirements for Queen's Counsel appointments to include individuals who are entitled to practice in any other jurisdiction within the Commonwealth that uses common law as the basis, in whole or in part, its legal system.
  • Reduces red tape by automatically revoking a QC appointment if a lawyer is disbarred, or resigns in the face of discipline and is deemed to be disbarred.

Provincial Offences Procedures Act

  • Enables First Nations to use tickets to enforce their bylaws.
  • Allows Albertans participate in trials and hearings by videoconference or telephone.
  • Allows Albertans to enter pleas, set trial dates, and request adjournments by telephone, email and other electronic means instead of having to go to court in person.
  • Simplifies court procedures by removing the need for law enforcement officers to file an affidavit to prove they issued a ticket, or for people to file an affidavit when they apply to set aside a conviction.
  • Allows tickets for more types of offences to be served by mail.

Referendum Act

  • Allows referendums and senate elections to be held during the same municipal election.

Victims Restitution and Compensation Payment Amendment Act

  • Expands the list of offences that are eligible for civil forfeiture to help deter a larger variety of crimes.
  • Allows government to use proceeds of crime to recover the cost of running the civil forfeiture program, instead of relying on taxpayers.
    • Government will still use the proceeds of crime to fund grants for community crime prevention and victims of crime initiatives.
  • Makes grants available to police agencies to help police reduce crime and deter criminals in Alberta communities.
  • Reduces red tape by getting rid of unused parts of the Victims Restitution and Compensation Payment Amendment Act, and reflect supports to victims now being provided through the Restitution Recovery Program.

Additional information

Next steps

Bill 38 received royal assent on December 9, 2020 and came into force on December 9, 2020 with section 6 taking effect on January 1, 2021.