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AMBER Alerts in Action

AMBER Alerts are only issued in Canada when there is reason to believe that:

  • A child has been abducted;

  • A child is in grave danger; and

  • An alert could assist in the safe recovery of a child.

An AMBER Alert is only intended for time-sensitive situations, and is only activated when police determine the criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert has been met. While an AMBER Alert can be a very important tool in helping locate a child and a suspect, it is important to remember that these types of alerts are not always appropriate in every circumstance, and that their continued effectiveness depends on ensuring that they are only used in cases where a child may be in grave danger and time is of the essence.

AMBER Alerts have been used by law enforcement in Canada for over 10 years and have led to many successful child recoveries.

For Example:

An AMBER Alert was issued for a 4-year-old girl and her mother who were believed to have been abducted by the girl’s father. There was a history of domestic violence between the two parents and there was concern that both the mother and daughter were at risk of harm. More than 40 tips poured into police including video surveillance of the father and daughter at a gas station in a neighbouring province. Forty-eight hours after the abduction, the father returned back home with both the mother and the daughter, who were both in apparent good health. Police were unsure of exactly what prompted the father to return, but it was noted that the situation had become news provincially, nationally and internationally thanks to the AMBER Alert program.

AMBER Alerts in Canada

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

Between January 2002 to December 2009,1 there were 37 AMBER Alerts issued across Canada involving a total of 43 children — 23 girls and 20 boys.

1 Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 2009 Missing Children Reference Report: National Missing Children Services, at: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/omc-ned/an-ra/annrep-rappann-09-eng.htm

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