Missing Person Awareness Day provides an opportunity for us to raise awareness of processes followed for missing person cases while breaking down some perceived barriers to reporting.
“The day is designed to bring awareness to all missing persons and the seriousness of these investigations, we also want to highlight the improved practices of the Service that we hope will regain the trust of those most affected by these investigations.”
- Detective Shona Patterson, Missing Persons Unit
Why February 3?
This day came about as a result of Missing and Missed – Report of the Independent Civilian Review into Missing Person Investigations. While many of the 151 recommendations suggest systemic changes relating to missing person investigations, one recommendation indicated that the Service should conduct Missing Person Awareness Days.
So, February 3, 2024 marks the inaugural Toronto Police Service Missing Person Awareness Day. February 3 was chosen in consultation with our Missing and Missed Implementation Community Representatives, in part, because it coincides with National Missing Person Day, which is held on February 3 each year in the United States.
This guide designed to empower our community with valuable information on the process of reporting missing persons, offering guidance on assisting in their location, dispelling common myths, and providing additional resources.
The Missing Persons Unit
The Missing Persons Unit oversees missing persons cases and unidentified human remains occurrences from all over the city of Toronto. Their goal is to always locate missing people in the best possible condition and as quickly as possible.
Stay connected to the Missing Persons team and their investigators on social media platforms:
Did You Know?
The Toronto Police Service investigates approximately 4,300 missing person’s cases per year.
There is no 24-hours waiting period to report someone missing in Ontario.
Anyone can report a person missing. If you are concerned with someone’s immediate safety, call 9-1-1. In less urgent situations, please contact the non-emergency number: 416-808-2222.
Investigators will not close the missing person’s file until they have verified the location and identity of the missing person.
How to Report Someone Missing
As soon as you can't find someone and are concerned for their safety, report them missing. Here are ways to report:
Call 9-1-1 if concerned about immediate safety
Call the non-emergency line 416-808-2222
Attend a police station
How to Assist in Locating a Missing Person
Family and Friends: Ensure they haven't made other arrangements.
Local Hospitals: Verify with healthcare institutions.
School/Employer: Contact educational institutions or employers.
Frequented Places: Check places the person usually goes.
Social Media: Monitor accounts for activity.
Update the police with new information. Call 416-808-2222 if you locate the missing person.
If I Am Missing
Being missing is NOT a criminal offence.
Contact the police or visit a police station for guidance.
Police will protect your privacy and not share information without consent.
Myth: You have to wait 24 hours before reporting a person missing.
Fact: Waiting can delay the investigation; report immediately.
Myth: Only family members can report a person missing.
Fact: Anyone can report a missing person.
Myth: The police won't start looking for a missing person right away.
Fact: Police investigate immediately; prompt reporting is crucial.
Myth: Only adults can be reported missing.
Fact: Anyone can be reported as missing.
Myth: The police won't investigate if the person missing is an adult with a history of going missing.
Fact: Every missing person case is taken seriously.
Myth: Reporting someone missing is an inconvenience to the police.
Fact: Reporting is critical; police rely on public assistance.
The Toronto Police Service and the Missing Children Society of Canada (MCSC) are working together to leverage technology and our partnerships within the community to raise awareness regarding vulnerable missing people.
MCSC’s mandate is to help return missing vulnerable persons return to a safe environment. MCSC also reaches out to enlist the help of the public in the search and location of missing children in addition to working with traditional media and online/social media to bring public awareness to cases of missing kids and vulnerable members of society.
Visit www.mcsc.ca to learn more and download the MCSC rescu App to join the search!
Websites for Additional Information
- The National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR) is Canada's national centre that provides law enforcement, medical examiners and chief coroners with specialized investigative services in support of missing persons and unidentified remains investigations.
- The Canadian Centre for Information on Missing Adults (CCIMA) is a bilingual online resource that acts as an information and referral centre for Canadian families and friends of missing individuals. CCIMA is a cooperative project between the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime and Ontario’s Missing Adults. The goal of CCIMA is to provide Canadian families with useful and practical information to help them cope with the realities arising from having a missing adult loved one.