TORONTO, Oct 8 /CNW/ -
At a news conference today, members of the Ontario AMBER Alert program
launched an effective new broadcast tool and announced an important new
partner to help police locate abducted children when an AMBER Alert is
initiated anywhere in Ontario.
Ontario AMBER Alert partners have teamed up with Facebook to create a
special AMBER Alert Facebook page on this popular social media network.
The Facebook page will now broadcast all AMBER Alerts that are issued in
the province, and Facebook users who subscribe to this new page will
receive critical AMBER Alert information when police activate the
This new partnership was forged through the efforts of the New
Brunswick-based child safety non-profit Child Safety Research
and Innovation Centre along with WiredSafety.org,
a key member of Facebook's Security Advisory Board.
"The public's help is critical in locating an abducted child and thanks
to our new partner Facebook, we now have a special AMBER Alert Facebook
page we can use as an important broadcast medium when we issue AMBER
Alerts in Ontario." - Chris
D. Lewis, Commissioner, Ontario Provincial Police.
"The expansion of the AMBER Alert program to Facebook will provide
police with another tool to help locate abducted children, as well as
give the families of these children the additional comfort of knowing
that we are able to do more to improve the safety of our children.". -
Bradley, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
""Protecting children is a responsibility shared by parents, educators,
members of the public sector, and companies like Facebook. "As a father
of two, I sincerely hope that we never again have to activate an AMBER
alert in Ontario or anywhere else in Canada. However, we are thrilled to
be part of this important initiative and would like to thank the many
AMBER Alert partners for their dedication to it. I'm also proud that
Canada is the first country in the world to broadcast AMBER alerts via
Facebook." - Jordan
Banks, Managing Director, Facebook Canada.
The Ontario Provincial Police facilitates the program under the
direction of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional
Services, and collaborates with its many partners throughout the
province to locate children who are abducted in Ontario.
As part of new recommendations that were implemented in 2009, the
program now has a dedicated AMBER Alert Coordinator who is responsible
for all aspects of the program, including training,
education/awareness, communication, ongoing enhancements and expansion
of the program.
AMBER Alert Page on
With its large user base and a platform that is conducive to
communication and information sharing, Facebook is an ideal medium
from which to broadcast AMBER Alerts.
Ontario is the third province to acquire the ability to send out AMBER
Alerts over Facebook.
New Brunswick launched an AMBER Alert Facebook page on July 21, 2010
and Prince Edward Island launched one on August 26, 2010.
The Ontario AMBER Alert Program was established in 2003 as a
voluntary, cooperative plan between radio/television stations, the
Ministry of Transportation and Ontario Law Enforcement Agencies.
The OPP is designated to facilitate the AMBER Alert Program which is
available to all Ontario law enforcement agencies. The decision to
issue an AMBER Alert is operational in nature and is made by the
investigating police service in consultation with the OPP.
Since 2003, there have been 19 AMBER Alert activations in Ontario, 4
since the 2009 review of the Ontario AMBER Alert program. Of these
cases, 16 children were recovered. It is difficult to discern how
great a role the AMBER Alert played in some of the successful
recoveries, but in certain cases it was significant.
The Ontario AMBER Alert program is an important tool for public
safety. Every effort must be made to maintain and improve the program.
Information obtained quickly through an AMBER Alert may assist in the
safe and swift return of abducted children. The main objective is
always the safe return of the child.
Guidelines for requesting the OPP initiate an AMBER Alert are
distributed to all Ontario Police Services. The guidelines are used
for ensuring any alerts are appropriate.
In May, 2009 the OPP called together members of the AMBER Alert
Steering Committee and additional stakeholders for a review of the
program from which new guidelines were set.
The new guidelines for issuing an AMBER Alert are:
1) Law enforcement agency believes a child under the age of 18 has been
2) Law enforcement agency believes the child is in danger;
There is descriptive information about one or more of the following:
child; abductor; vehicle; to believe an immediate broadcast alert will
help in locating the child.
As part of the 2009 review, a dedicated AMBER Alert Coordinator was
appointed and is responsible for all aspects of the program, including
training, education/awareness, communication, ongoing enhancements and
expansion of the program.
Ontario AMBER Alert Stakeholder members
The Ontario Association of Broadcasters
The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police
The Ontario Provincial Police
Child Find Ontario
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation
The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Toronto Police Service
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Ottawa Police Service
Ontario Media Relations Officers Network
Missing Children Society of Canada
Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness
The Canadian Press
National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (US)
Amber Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program (Fox Valley
Technical Institute - United States)
MAC'S Convenience Stores
Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association
Child Safety Research an Innovation Centre
SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police
For further information: For further information:
OPP Sgt. Steve Montpetit, Ontario AMBER Alert Coordinator
Phone: (705) 794-7065