NEW YORK Two Canadian
media organizations put the spotlight on scrapyards in
Vancouver, British Columbia, raising several questions about
the regions metals theft laws and their enforcement.
Journalists at the Vancouver
Sun and CBC News earlier this month collected
phone wire, an aluminum phone booth and scrap from national
utility company Telus Communications Co. Offering fake
identifications in some instances, the journalists sold the
phone booth on their first day out and then attempted to sell
burnt wire to scrapyards.
Those dealers were legally
prohibited from buying property belonging to utility companies
such as Telus unless the material was sold by an employee with
proper identification. Of the seven targeted scrap dealers,
five violated existing laws, according to a report in the
The Canadian Association of
Recycling Industries (CARI) said it was important to note that
of the seven companies targeted, only two were members of CARI,
and they followed all the rules.
Every dealer is expected to
follow all laws and exercise due diligence when inspecting
materials, according to CARI executive director Leonard
"CARI assists members by keeping
them informed about law changes, meeting with police and
others, and developing a draft inspection protocol," he said.
"Unfortunately, not all dealers are members. The greatest
problem seems to be with non-members."
A provincial law designed to
curb metals theft in British Columbia will go into effect July
23. Under the new rules, those trying to sell metals will need
to present identification to the scrap purchaser, who will in
turn share purchase details with police on a daily basis.
Purchasers who fail to register
with the province and meet record-keeping and sharing
requirements will risk fines of up to $100,000, as well as up
to six months imprisonment.
While Shaw asserted that the
move by the media groups hasnt raised questions about the
existing laws and their enforcement, he did say the existing
laws are flawed.
Shaw previously told
AMM that authorities have failed to understand the
scrap industry and the metals theft problem. "Ask yourself
this: Even if everyone refused to buy the scrap, how would that
stop the theft or lead to a conviction?" he asked.
"Collecting data from sellers
and passing it to the police doesnt solve the problem,
and identifying sellers is a big infringement on privacy
rights," he said. "British Columbia feels that identifying will
work as a deterrent. They think they can stop the flow of
stolen metal. These laws do nothing to stop people from just
shipping the metal out on a container."
It is imperative that industry
and authorities work together, Shaw said.
In Canada, the process of
drawing up criminal laws falls under the purview of its federal
government, which has not been approached on the issue, he