If passed, Bill 9, the Public’s Right to Know Act, would be the first legislation of its kind in Canada, requiring the provincial government to report crime data annually and make the information available on its website. This will bring consistency in timing and a more user-friendly approach to crime statistics for Albertans.

The Public’s Right to Know Act, which would also require the government to table a report in the legislature, fulfils a platform commitment to strengthen transparency in the justice system and responds to calls from Albertans for more information about crime.

“People have a right to know what’s going on in their communities and this legislation would give them easier access to more information about crime statistics in the province. Improving access to crime data will also help people make evidence-based decisions for better outcomes and safer communities.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“Access to reliable data is critical to community safety and well-being. When we give reliable data to community members, we empower them to better prioritize and direct their efforts in ways that are efficient and maximize resources. Aside from that, data-informed Albertans also empower communities to be part of the decision-making process when it comes to matters that affect their safety and well-being.”

Jan Fox, executive director, REACH Edmonton

“We support any attempt to make crime and safety data more readily accessible to the public. Having this information at your fingertips gives people the knowledge and power to make informed decisions about their own safety and well-being.”

Mark Neufeld, chief of police, Calgary Police Service

“The Edmonton Police Service supports a more thorough approach to reporting on crime data for Alberta’s entire criminal justice system, from police services and corrections to the court system and the many other agencies and services that uphold community safety and well-being. An increase in visibility and accessibility of data can help to improve public safety, and we look forward to seeing progress provincewide in this area.”

Dale McFee, chief of police, Edmonton Police Service

“This legislation will be of assistance to Alberta Citizens on Patrol groups, to help us understand what is going on in our communities. This initiative will help us with decisions about our patrols and volunteer efforts. The information received from this legislation will result in an increase in crime prevention.”

Garth Kohlsmith, president, Alberta Citizens on Patrol Association

The legislation would enable the province to report on currently available metrics, such as police-reported crime data, and allows for other kinds of crime and justice information to be added in the future. There are provisions enabling the provincial government to obtain and publish additional data through information-sharing agreements with the federal government, other provinces and territories, municipalities and police services, among others.

The provincial government would also have the ability to report the data in a user-friendly way by highlighting metrics that are of the most concern to people, like data about violent and serious crimes, as well as property offences.

If passed, the legislation is intended to come into force this fall, enabling the first reports to be tabled and the data posted publicly online.