Burst the Bubble on Missing Persons

While many of us don't want to think about it, we should all know the facts of filing a missing person's report. Can you tell fact from fiction?
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Which statement is true?
Which statement is true?
Which statement is true?
Which statement is true?
Which statement is true?
What is a "Missing Person"?
Although there are many definitions this is most inclusive: A Missing Person is defined as “Anyone reported to police or by police as someone whose whereabouts are unknown, whatever the circumstances of their disappearance, and they are considered missing until located.”
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Approximately how many people were reported missing in Canada in 2016?
The NCMPUR Fast Fact Sheet for 2016, shows police in Canada recorded more than 73,000reports of missing people. These reports include occurrences which are currently open, andconcluded occurrences only if they were open after May 16, 2014. 45,609 (62%) of the total werechildren and another 27,789 (38%) were adults. Here are some Fast Facts:Children: 58% of all missing children/youth reports involve females.75% of missing children/youth reports (male and female) are runaways.59% of missing children/youth reports were removed within 24 hours, while82% were removed within a week.Adults: 58% of missing adult reports involve males.62% of missing adult reports were removed within 24 hours while 90% were removed within a week.

The data in the NCMPUR Fast Fact Sheet 2016 is derived from missing person transactions in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). CPIC transactions include repeat runaways, and situations where a single instance of a missing person may be entered and deleted multiple times by different agencies over a specific period of time.
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Who knows best if a person's disappearance should be taken seriously?
A person may go missing due to accident, crime, death in a location where they cannot be found (such as at sea), or many other reasons, including voluntary disappearance. In some countries, missing persons' photographs are posted on roadside billboards, bulletin boards, postcards, placemats, milk cartons, websites and social media, to publicize their description.

A child may go missing for different reasons than adults, understanding they are more vulnerable to abduction and trafficking. When trying to understand how to find and protect missing children, it is important to analyse the causes and effects of a child's disappearance. While criminal abductions are often the most commonly publicised cases of missing children, it only represents less than 1% of missing children in Canada. The highest category is Runaways at nearly 75% which needs serious intervention and prevention measures, particularly with chronic repeat runaways. Many categories of missing children end up in the hands of traffickers forced into sexual or commercial exploitation and abuse.

Missing is a complex social issue tied into various life stressors. Risk factors may include unhealthy or abusive living environments, bullying, isolation, vulnerability, runaways, truancy, crime, and financial or job difficulties. Little research is available in Canada.


Although adults can decide to disappear, family know best if this is uncharacteristic; families need to be listened to and taken seriously.


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Does Canada have a framework to track data related to missing persons?
Sadly, no. A Missing Persons Framework is needed to prevent people going missing and limit
the harm to those who have gone missing. A national Framework will clarify responsibilities and set out a clear set of objectives and supporting commitments. Through this, it will improve the way we deal with the issue across Canada and bring more consistency on how we protect and support missing people and their families.

Although the RCMP have developed a Missing Persons Strategy and Policy, there is no national Framework to ensure all parties impacted by missing persons are helped in a consistent and timely manner. Also, the strategy speaks to the investigation issues that police face.

This does not address supports for the families who are left behind, those struggling to live with their uncertainty. Families are experiencing an Ambiguous Loss, theory by Dr. Pauline Boss. It’s important that families know it’s the situation that is abnormal, not them.

A complete framework needs to look at all aspects: Prevent, Respond, Support, and Protect as implemented for the National Missing Persons Framework for Scotland in May 2017.
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You got {number correct}/{number of questions} correct answers
Thank you for learning more about Missing Persons in Canada and throughout the world. To find out more, check out the links below:

How can you help?

Legislative change is an important step forward to improve support services for families with missing love ones. You can help by adding your voice to these petitions for needed change and also share with others:
- Ontario Needs Missing Persons Legislation
- Declare a National Missing Persons Day in Canada

For additional information see:
Canada's Missing Public Website
Canadian Centre for Information on Missing Persons (CCIMA)


Portions of this quiz is based off the article An Overview of Saskatchewan Missing Persons Week by Alyssa McDonald.

About the advocate who created this quiz:

Maureen Trask is a life-long resident of Waterloo Region and now Puslinch, Ontario, Canada. She has a BA in Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo and is retired from a 40 year career in Information Technology.

Nearly 6 years ago, Maureen and her family were confronted with the most challenging event of their life when their youngest son, Daniel, went missing on Nov. 3, 2011. This set them on a journey of searching, not only for Daniel, but also for information and support. During the early years, Maureen was shocked to discover a lack of resources and support services for families like hers, and little community understanding of what families needed. Fortunately, thanks to the Michigan Backcountry SAR Team, Daniel was found on May 24, 2017, ending their ambiguous loss (Dr. Pauline Boss).

In honour of Daniel, Maureen continues as an advocate for families with missing loved ones. She is actively engaged in collaborating with the families, Police, Victim Services, social agencies, government, and the media to ensure families have a network of support available to them. This will ultimately help other families with missing loved ones, who find themselves on this journey of uncertainty."

Maureen maintains a number of pages on Facebook:
Support for Us - Families with Missing Loved Ones

Ontario needs Missing Persons Legislation

Declare a National Missing Persons Day