Bill 9, The Scrap Metal Act, and its corresponding scrap metal regulation came into force in Manitoba as part of the government’s plan to address the problem of scrap metal theft in the province.
Under the new framework, dealers must register details of their scrap metal transactions, defined as a used item made of aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, iron, lead, steel, stainless steel, pewter or a prescribed metal or alloy. Merchants must retain transaction records for two years and provide them to a peace officer upon request. Additionally, cash transactions are not permitted for any transaction over $50.
“The Scrap Metal Act, together with the Scrap Metal Regulations, sets out a framework that applies to the sale and purchase of scrap metal in Manitoba,” said Manitoba Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen. “The law and regulation will significantly reduce the theft of catalytic converters by disrupting resale opportunities for illegally obtained scrap metal.”
Goertzen says transactions involving metal containers normally recycled to avoid waste, such as paint cans, as well as coins, bullion and jewelry are exempt from the record-keeping requirement. According to a press release from the provincial government’s website, transactions involving restricted items – defined as highly vulnerable to theft and resale, such as catalytic converters, or having significant intrinsic value, such as plaques, monuments and statues – are subject to stricter rules.
In addition to the record keeping requirements for general scrap metal, any transaction involving regulated items must include a photograph that provides sufficient detail to identify the item. The government’s website says complete records must be submitted to the scrap dealer’s local law enforcement agency within seven days. Cash transactions are not permitted for restricted items.
Law enforcement, non-profit partners and other government agencies are helping to combat the theft of catalytic converters in Manitoba, including the Winnipeg Police Service, Winnipeg Crime Stoppers, Manitoba Public Insurance of Manitoba (MPI) and Criminal Asset Forfeiture (CPF). CPF provided grants to Winnipeg Crime Stoppers and the Steinbach RCMP to implement projects to combat catalytic converter theft by marking and etching catalytic converters with vehicle identification numbers (VINs). With an engraved VIN, police can trace the owners of recovered catalytic converters, and people with illegally obtained catalytic converters can be charged with being in possession of stolen property.
“Winnipeg Crime Stoppers appreciates the funding provided by Criminal Property Forfeiture. With the help of our many partners in the community, this gave us the opportunity to develop the Save Your Cat program,” says Paul Johnson, President of Winnipeg Crime Stoppers. “We were able to come up with another idea to tackle the epidemic of catalytic converter theft. Identification is the key to prosecuting responsible criminals.
“Catalytic converter theft affects many Manitobans, and in the Steinbach area we have certainly seen an increase in this type of crime,” said Supt. Jim Mirza, Acting Criminal Operations Officer, Manitoba RCMP. “I am proud of the initiative our Steinbach Detachment has shown in requesting criminal asset forfeiture funds to purchase engravers to donate to local machine shops. We hope this will increase our ability to fight this crime and reduce the number of Manitobans who fall victim to it.