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News | Headlines | Metals Recycling
May 28, 2012 - BY LORI CULBERT, VANCOUVER SUN MAY 9, 2012
B.C.'s long-awaited anti-metal-theft rules were made official on May 8th, and scrap dealers and their customers must be in compliance with the new guidelines by July, according to a recent article in the Vancouver Sun. Canada's first metal theft law was passed in November, but the new regulations did not become official until the lieutenant-governor signed an order-in-council.
The rules will kick in on July 23, and will affect the more than 60 scrap dealers and recyclers in B.C., as well as the people who sell them metal. Metal thieves have caused millions of dollars worth of problems in the province in recent years, often by stealing copper wiring in phone lines and municipal street lamps.
Telus reported 380 incidents of cables being cut in 2011, with an average repair bill of $50,000 - or a total of $19 million in damages. The justice ministry will post the approved regulations online today, but highlights are as follows: . Dealers must send daily notices of their metal purchases to police, who can compare the information to theft reports.
Sellers must provide a name, address, phone number, date of birth, and vehicle description. Police will need a court order to access the seller's information. Sellers with more than $50 in metal will be paid by cheque, not cash - to reduce "walk-in traffic by individuals who want quick cash." .
Provincial inspectors will check scrap yards for violations. Delinquent dealers can be fined between $100 and $500. Continuing non-compliance can lead to fines of up to $10,000 for an individual and $100,000 for a company, and up to six months in jail.
The government says the regulations will "complement" metal theft bylaws that already exist in a dozen B.C. communities, such as Vancouver and Surrey.
Telus has suffered fewer losses in cities with these bylaws, and believes the provincial legislation will further reduce the problem across B.C. by making it harder for thieves to sell stolen metal, said spokesman Shawn Hall.
"Most scrap metal dealers are good operators, but there are obviously some bad apples out there and this will give police important tools to crack down on those," he said.
Telus said thefts in 2012 are keeping pace with the numbers in 2011. On Monday, thieves cut five cables in Delta, knocking out service to 2,800 homes and businesses for as long as 24 hours, Hall said. The 10-week waiting period between now and July 23 is to allow time for scrap dealers to comply with the new rules.
At North Star Recycling in Vancouver, manager Adam Folk said the new law won't change anything for his company because it is already com-plying with Vancouver's bylaw. He was unsure whether the law will bring about significant change.
"The good scrapyards are already being good whether or not there is legislation," he said.
Len Shaw, executive director of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries, met with the government several times while the law was being drafted. He predicted scrap dealers will comply with the legislation but said it is a "concern" for them.
"The vast majority see it as a waste of time because it won't stop the metal theft," Shaw said.
It can be impossible to know when something is stolen, often because it is cut up before it gets to a scrapyard, he said. Instead of the new rules, Shaw argued businesses like Telus should take extra steps to protect wires and the justice system should clamp down more harshly on thieves.
In Langley - where the RCMP said in early 2011 that 40 per cent of metal thefts in the Lower Mainland had occurred - the new regulations were greeted with optimism.
"I think it is a law that will reduce - I am very cautious to say it will eliminate - a great amount of wire theft in B.C.," said Bill Storie, Langley Town-ship's manager of bylaws.
In a statement, Justice Minister and Attorney-General Shirley Bond said she hoped this legislation would improve public safety.
"Metal thieves interfere with telephone service and emergency communications, and often leave live wires in their wake, posing the threat of electrocution to maintenance and repair workers and other innocent people."
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