October 1st, 2015

NDP MPP Catherine Fife’s Missing Persons Motion passes in legislature

NDP MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo Catherine Fife’s Missing Persons Private Member’s Motion passed in the legislature this afternoon. The Motion calls on the government to introduce missing persons legislation modelled after existing laws in Manitoba and Alberta to aid families and law enforcement in missing persons cases where there is no evidence of foul play.

The issue became personal for Fife when the son of a local constituent went missing during a wilderness trip in 2011. Maureen Trask’s son, Daniel, was an adult when he went missing and no foul play was suspected. As a result, Trask encountered a series of barriers in trying to locate her missing son with the police.

The remains of her son were found by a group of volunteers in May 2015. Daniel had been missing for over three years at that point.

“When my son Daniel went missing it shocked me to learn that police have no ability to access personal information or locations of missing adults, where there is no evidence of crime. Missing persons legislations will clear this roadblock. I am encouraged by the support of MPP Catherine Fife, and other community leaders who are pushing for this legislative change,” Trask said.

“We found Daniel this year, but too many families are still looking for their loved one. They deserve answers, they need this legislation. It’s the right thing to do.” Trask said.

Other jurisdictions that have recently introduced or passed missing persons legislation include: Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and most notably, Manitoba. Under Manitoba legislation, police can make an application before a court to access records of an individual when they have reason to believe that individual is at risk of harm or death.

“I’m grateful that this important motion passed in the legislature this afternoon. It’s time Ontario shed its indifference on this issue and follow the lead of other provinces,” Fife said. “This motion is the first step toward ensuring police and families like Maureen’s have better tools and resources to locate their loved ones.”