BC’s new metal theft law in effect

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Canada’s first provincial metal theft law and regulations came into effect in British Columbia on July 23. The new laws include identification and reporting requirements designed to limit the resale market for stolen goods and ensure thieves are identified and prosecuted, said the B.C. government.

The theft of metals, especially copper, is costing businesses, municipalities and insurers. A recent estimate by the Association of British Insurers put weekly insurance costs related to metal theft at �1 million.

Now in British Columbia, people wishing to sell regulated metals must present valid identification. In turn, scrap dealers and recyclers who buy these metals will share purchase details with their local police. Officers will be able to use this information to compare against reports of stolen metal and seek court orders to obtain further information from dealers when required.

In May, the government wrote to municipalities that have metal-theft-related bylaws, asking them to ensure their rules do not conflict with the new provincial ones. This followed consultation conducted in part to ensure the local and provincial approaches would work together.

The provincial regulations focus on metal types and objects historically targeted by thieves, ranging from copper telephone wire and plumbing to manhole covers and metal grave markers. Purchasers who fail to register with the province and fulfill record-keeping and sharing requirements risk fines of up to $100,000.