Canadian government re-introduces ID theft legislation

Canadian government re-introduces ID theft legislation

The Canadian government has re-introduced what it calls "tough" legislation designed to combat identity theft, which is estimated to cost the country over $2 billion a year.

The government initially introduced a bill on ID theft in 2007 but it failed to make it through committee debate.

The proposed legislation would create three new offences targeting the early stages of identity-related crime, all of which will carry up to five years in prison.

The bill covers obtaining and possessing identity information, trafficking in ID data and holding or trafficking in government-issued identity documents.

The legislation would also give courts the power to order an offender to pay restitution to a victim of ID theft or fraud where they have incurred expenses related to rehabilitating their identity.

Rob Nicholson, justice minister, says: "Organised crime and modern technology are changing the criminal landscape, making identity theft easier than ever. This legislation will provide police with the tools they need to protect Canada's families, seniors, and businesses from the numerous harms of identity crime."

The Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), Interac, MasterCard and Visa have all backed the move.

"There is an urgent need to make identity theft a defined offence - an actual crime - in Canada and we urge all parties to join together and pass this legislation quickly," says Nancy Hughes Anthony, president and CEO, CBA.

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 02 April, 2009, 15:07Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

This is an important step to address the first of the two crimes that neccesarily go together in identity fraud transactions: #1: compormise the data, and #2 transact with the data. The reason identity fraud doesn't subside (my company, Javelin, reported it as $48B US in 2008) is that we don't acknowledge the many unusual complexities of this crime with appropriate action. I'll be watching this proposed legislation with interest; maybe other countries can learn something from Canada's progress, just as we have with debit and other areas.