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The AMBER Alert program is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies and media broadcasters to send out emergency alerts to the public when a child has been abducted and it is believed that the child’s life is in imminent danger. The program provides the public with immediate and up-to-date information about a child abduction via widespread media broadcasts, including television and radio, and solicits the public’s help in assisting in the safe and swift return of an abducted child. Each province in Canada has an AMBER Alert program, issuing alerts within their specific regions. An AMBER Alert can only be activated by police agencies, and is only issued for the most serious, time-sensitive cases.

What is an AMBER Alert?

An AMBER Alert is a warning system designed to quickly alert the public of an abducted child believed to be in imminent danger. When an AMBER Alert is issued, radio and television stations immediately interrupt programming to broadcast information about the abducted child, the alleged abductor and any vehicle description available. The AMBER Alert program immediately engages the local community in the search for the child and their abductor.

Research has shown that if an abducted child is going to be harmed, it usually occurs within a short time period. The AMBER Alert program helps expedite the recovery of an abducted child and benefits communities by:

  • Making the community aware of the urgency of the situation.

  • Mobilizing the community to assist in the recovery of an abducted child and in apprehending the abductor.

  • Giving law enforcement a powerful tool to assist in the location of an abducted child and giving media broadcasters a way to help their community by issuing alerts.

  • Increasing law enforcement’s ability to locate witnesses and help resolve child abduction cases quickly due to extensive radio and television coverage.

In Canada, AMBER Alert programs are provincially operated. While most provinces have AMBER Alert committees, only law enforcement can issue an AMBER Alert.

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