A Quick Look Up of Citizen’s Arrest Law

As I was driving behind someone chucking garbage out their car window this morning I considered how little I know about the concept of citizen’s arrest. Here in Alberta, drivers who suspect that another vehicle is being operated by someone who is impaired may call 9-1-1, but I was pretty sure that the RCMP – I was driving on a highway at the time – would frown on 9-1-1 calls for littering.

The Tip part of this post is: sometimes Google is the fast path to a legal research question.

Back at my desk (not in the car where I am not allowed to use my mobile device with my hands while driving), I plugged citizen’s arrest into Google. The second hit led to a resource that has been discussed before in these legal research tips: a Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Bill C-26: The Citizen’s Arrest and Self-defence Act. LegisINFO tells us that this bill is awaiting proclamation, but the background information in the summary tells me what the current law is regarding Citizen’s arrest.

And just for fun, here are some facts about littering in my jurisdiction.

Littering on highways in Alberta, is dealt with under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, Section 179(1):
179(1) No person shall dispose of waste on a highway except in a container placed for the purpose of collecting it.

Municipalities can adopt bylaws to address litter in Alberta.

Farmers, like my Dad, sometimes make their kids pick litter out of hay fields so the cows don’t eat garbage and get sick. This colours their adulthood and makes them think about citizen’s arrest when they spot littering drivers.

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