Status: Bill 38 was introduced on October 21, 2020
Ministry responsible: Justice and Solicitor General


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

Key changes

If passed, Bill 38 will update the following legislation:

Police Act

  • Acknowledge 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.
  • Ensure future changes resulting from the current Police Act review apply to First Nations police services and communities.
  • Align the census data source for calculating policing costs for municipalities of more than 5,000 people with the Alberta government standard.

Jury Act

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

Queen’s Counsel Act

  • Expand 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.
  • Reduce 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

  • Enable First Nations to use tickets to enforce their bylaws.
  • Allow Albertans participate in trials and hearings by videoconference or telephone.
  • Allow 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.
  • Simplify 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.
  • Allow tickets for more types of offences to be served by mail.

Referendum Act

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

Victims Restitution and Compensation Payment Amendment Act

  • Expand the list of offences that are eligible for civil forfeiture to help deter a larger variety of crimes.
  • Allow 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.
  • Make grants available to police agencies to help police reduce crime and deter criminals in Alberta communities.
  • Reduce 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

If passed, most of Bill 38 will take effect upon proclamation.