QUEEN’S PARK – Monique Taylor (Hamilton Mountain), NDP critic for Children, Community, and Social Services, is fighting to pass a bill that would create a new alert for missing vulnerable persons.
“This bill is an important, common-sense way to fill a gap in our existing system,” said Taylor. “In an emergency situation, when a family is frantically looking for a vulnerable loved one, this amendment will add an important tool in their toolbox to bring that person home safe and sound.”
Taylor’s bill would allow the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), in accordance with a request from an officer, to send a targeted, regional emergency alert for any vulnerable person who goes missing from home, which could include a person with autism, Alzheimer's disease, or dementia. This fills an important gap in the existing emergency alert system, which can currently only be issued for an abducted child under the age of 17.
According to the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, six-in-ten Ontarians living with dementia will go missing at some point. In half of all cases where a person living with dementia is not found within 24 hours, they risk serious injury or death.
“I sincerely hope Ford’s Conservatives aren’t playing politics here, and wasting time holding this bill up. I will continue to do whatever it takes to win this simple solution for the most vulnerable Ontarians,” said Taylor. “Ford must bring Bill 74 back to the table for public debate and hear from the stakeholders advocating for this. There is not a moment to waste.”
Taylor was inspired to propose Bill 74 after hearing heartbreaking stories of families who lost loved ones in Hamilton and Lindsay.
Justin Graham, Draven Graham’s father
"This isn't just about my son Draven, or children in general, this is for anyone that has a disability. This bill is not only to protect our children and loved ones, but for the safety and piece of mind that they are going to be safe going forward."
Lori Brown, Shirley Love's daughter
"My mom went missing on a sunny, December afternoon and bitter temperatures and darkness would fall within two hours of her disappearance. She was not dressed for winter weather and her confusion would prevent her from seeking shelter or returning home. Two hours was all we had. My mom died cold and alone in the brushy area of a nearby golf course, a tragic end to a beautiful life that could have been prevented with a simple alert."
Alina Cameron, President of the Ontario Autism Coalition
"The Ontario Autism Coalition commends MPP Monique Taylor for her commitment to ensuring the safety of all Ontarians, and for her leadership in introducing this important bill. The Missing Persons Amendment Act, 2023 is a vital step towards improving the safety and well-being of all Ontarians. We urge all members of the Ontario Legislature to support this nonpartisan, common-sense proposal to ensure its swift passage."
Cathy Barrick, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Ontario
“A vulnerable person’s alert would help avoid some of these tragic outcomes, and the Alzheimer Society of Ontario fully endorses a local, targeted alert system to help quickly locate vulnerable people, including those living with dementia. There are steps we can all take to recognize the risk and prepare for someone we know who lives with dementia going missing.”