More Tools to Find Missing Persons

Posted On Thursday August 08, 2019

 

Region of Peel— The moment a loved one goes missing, swift action is critical. The Ontario Government is now providing frontline police officers with more tools to respond quickly to missing persons investigations.

“Peel Regional Police receive more than 2,000 missing person reports every year,” said Chief Chris McCord, Peel Regional Police. “The government’s changes to the Missing Persons Act will provide officers with additional tools to assist in investigations and bolster our ability to locate missing loved ones in a timely fashion.”

The Missing Persons Act, proclaimed by the government on July 1, 2019, provides police with three additional tools to use when there is no evidence a crime has been committed. These will allow police to:

  1. Obtain copies of records that may assist in a search;
  2. Obtain a court order to allow entry into a premises to search for a missing person; and
  3. Make an urgent demand for records without a court order in certain urgent circumstances.

The act sets out tests to obtain court authorization for access to records or search warrants, and to execute urgent demands for records. It requires police and the courts to consider privacy issues and whether there is evidence that the person does not wish to be located. The act also includes guidelines on what information police may disclose about a missing person before and after they have been located.

Previously, when a person went missing without evidence of criminal activity, police were limited in the ways they could investigate. This legislation allows police to respond to missing persons investigations rapidly, while balancing concerns for an individual’s privacy.

QUICK FACTS

  • To ensure transparency and accountability, the act sets out a requirement for chiefs of police and the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police to report annually on the use of urgent demands for records by members of the police service.
  • A mandated five-year review of the legislation is required.
  • There is no requirement to wait 24 hours to report someone

The act can be read in full at: Missing Persons Act, 2018

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