Manitoba Government Introduces The Scrap Metal Act

December 2, 2021Legislation Would Require Scrap Metal Dealers to Record Identifying Information to Help Protect Property, Public Safety: Friesen

The Manitoba government is introducing the scrap metal act to protect property and public safety, Justice Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

“Metal theft is an increasing concern in Manitoba that affects public safety and can be extremely costly to individuals and business owners,” said Friesen. “These changes will require sellers and scrap dealers to provide and record identification for all metal sales. In addition to these measures, scrap metal dealers will be required to keep records and produce those records when requested, increasing accountability and providing barriers to those who seek to steal and sell metal items for quick cash.”

Metal theft is a global issue driven by world metal prices that affects residents and businesses in both urban and rural areas, noted the minister. He added it is extremely costly to the electricity, construction, telecommunication and industrial sectors, and information from Manitoba on the sale of stolen metal indicates this is an increasingly common crime.

Thieves can often sell stolen scrap metal quickly for cash, making it hard to trace investigate those transactions.

The legislation aims to deter metal theft and the resale of scrap metal by:

  • requiring scrap metal dealers to record identifying information about scrap metal sellers and details about metal sales transactions;
  • requiring dealers to report information about legislated items that are highly vulnerable to law enforcement and to hold this information for two years for law enforcement purposes; and
  • prohibiting the use of cash for highly vulnerable items regardless of value, as well as some situations involving other stolen metal.

The bill contains exceptions to ensure it is not overly burdensome on legitimate sellers, and does not apply to items at a lower risk of being stolen and resold.

The minister noted the department undertook a two-month public and stakeholder engagement in the fall of 2020 and the majority of respondents were in favour of enacting new scrap metal sales legislation to combat metal theft and favoured this approach.

When passed, the legislation would be implemented in consultation with law enforcement and other stakeholders. 

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