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New law helps police track missing persons

Police services in Saskatchewan will have a new means to help find missing people.

The Missing Persons and Presumption of Death Amendment Act, 2018 comes into effect Friday, March 15.

The Act enhances the existing powers of police in missing person investigations where there is no reason to suspect a crime has taken place.

“It is devastating for friends and families when a loved one goes missing,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said. “We must offer them every support available. These changes will ensure that police services have the most up-to-date tools to help find missing people.”

When a person is reported missing and there is no reason to suspect a crime, police cannot rely on the Criminal Code to access personal information of persons reported missing. This could stall a missing person investigation.

The amendments allow law enforcement agencies to:

* obtain a search order where a missing minor or vulnerable person is believed to be in a building;

* access a broader range of records including global positioning tracking records, employment records and school records;

* access information about a person who might be in the company of a missing minor or vulnerable person; and

* make an emergency demand for records where certain criteria are met.

The Missing Persons and Presumption of Death Act was introduced in 2009.  The Act establishes how the property of a missing person is administered, adopts presumption of death provisions and sets out how family members and law enforcement can access information about a person who is missing.

Saskatchewan was the first Canadian jurisdiction to create access to information provisions in relation to missing persons.

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