Proposed legislation to combat identity theft welcomed - Canadian Bankers Association

    TORONTO, Nov. 21 /CNW/ - Nancy Hughes Anthony, President and CEO of the
Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), called today's identity theft announcement
an important and much-needed step forward in the fight against identity theft.
Ms. Hughes Anthony joined federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson as he
announced the legislation.
    "Personal identification and information are used daily to validate our
identity. But for criminals, this information is a gold mine," said Ms. Hughes
Anthony. "This bill represents concrete action in the fight against identity
theft and we applaud and support today's efforts to put consumer protection at
the forefront, where it should be."
    Identity theft, or the theft of personal information, can be the starting
point to a range of crimes - from financial fraud and forgery to abuse of
government programs. That is why combating identity theft requires the
cooperation and efforts of business, law enforcement, individual consumers and
    The CBA has long advocated for the need to make identity theft a defined
offence under the Criminal Code in Canada. As well, the banking industry has
called for changes to make it illegal to possess multiple pieces of
identification, to traffic in stolen personal information and to modernize the
Code in general to deal with emerging criminal tactics, such as phishing.
    "Front and centre has been the need to make identity theft a defined
offence - an actual crime - in Canada," said Ms. Hughes Anthony. "In fact what
has been needed is early intervention to prevent crimes from occurring. For
example it is an offence to possess burglary tools but it is not illegal to be
in possession of a fist full of driver's licences, card numbers and PINs."
    Banks have highly sophisticated security systems and experts in place to
protect customers' information and to protect them from being the victims of
financial fraud. They also work closely with law enforcement and help educate
consumers about steps they can take to minimize the risk of becoming a victim.
    "Today's action addresses these gaps and is a needed tool in the arsenal
to prevent ensuing harm," said Ms. Hughes Anthony. "Banks take their role in
the fight against identity theft extremely seriously. It is an ongoing,
vigilant effort."

    The Canadian Bankers Association works on behalf of 54 domestic chartered
banks, foreign bank subsidiaries and foreign bank branches operating in Canada
and their 249,000 employees to advocate for efficient and effective public
policies governing banks and to promote an understanding of the banking
industry and its importance to Canadians and the Canadian economy.

For further information:

For further information: Melanie Minos, Canadian Bankers Association,
Tel: (416) 362-6093, ext. 220, Cell: (416) 587-7733, E-mail:

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