Launching a missing persons investigation is about to get easier for police across New Brunswick, thanks to a new piece of legislation.
The provincial government proclaimed the Missing Persons Act on Wednesday, which aims to help law enforcement find a missing person when no criminal investigation is underway.
Officials say the new legislation has the potential to save lives, with New Brunswick’s minister of aboriginal affairs saying she is pleased to see it come to fruition.
“Indigenous women and girls in Canada are disproportionately affected by all forms of violence,” said Arlene Dunn, noting the government has a responsibility to prevent violence and improve their safety.
She adds the legislation fulfils one of the recommendations from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“The new Missing Persons Act is a good step forward in our commitment to doing that,” said Dunn.
Under the act, the province says police can request information contained in a person’s records — once they are established as missing — with an emergency/urgent demand, an order for the production of records, or a search warrant.
Access would have to be granted by the courts, but following approval police could request information such as:
- Records related to signals from a wireless device that may indicate the location of the device
- Cell phone records
- All forms of instant messaging
- GPS tracking records