Concerns raised over Saskatchewan ban on sex offenders changing names

REGINA—Questions are being raised about the Saskatchewan government’s denying sex offenders the ability to legally change their names.

The province has released details about an order of council passed by cabinet that says anyone requesting a name change will be required to undergo a criminal record check.

More than 20 sexual offences — ranging from those committed against children to sexual assault and incest — will disqualify a person from doing so.

Criminal defence lawyer Aaron Fox says sexual offenders are already tracked under Canada’s national sex offender registry, so the legislative change is mostly window-dressing on the province’s part.

The Justice Ministry says Saskatchewan is the first province to refuse a request to change names because of a criminal record.

Justice Minister Don Morgan says sex offenders should not be able to change their names to avoid public scrutiny and the change is being made to protect vulnerable people.

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