DNA profiles in the National Missing Persons DNA Program

Submitting DNA profiles to the program

To submit samples to the National Missing Persons DNA Program (NMPDP), investigators must consult with the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR) and show that:

  • the comparison of DNA profiles will aid in the investigation
  • they tried other investigative procedures and were unsuccessful, or the urgency of the situation requires the use of DNA analysis

Once NCMPUR authorizes the submission to the program, the investigating agency handles:

  • the collection of biological samples (including personal effects of a missing person)
  • donor consent

The DNA Identification Act outlines these requirements:

Investigators will send samples to the National DNA Data Bank (NDDB) for the development of DNA profiles, at which point the profiles will be entered into one of the three humanitarian indices.

Length of time DNA profiles remain in the NDDB

Donors must provide informed consent before DNA profiles will be included in the NDDB. The DNA profiles stay in the NDDB until donors withdraw their consent, or the investigator determines that the DNA profile is no longer relevant to the case.

Requesting removal of a profile

Donors who voluntarily submit their DNA can withdraw their consent at any time.

To do so, they need to send a written request to the investigating agency or NCMPUR at canadasmissing-disparuscanada@rcmp-grc.gc.ca. Their DNA profile will then be removed from the NDDB.

DNA will also be removed and destroyed when a missing person investigation is resolved.

Reviewing profiles

Every five years, the NMPDP conducts a DNA profile review. The program contacts investigating agencies that submitted DNA profiles to ensure that:

  • profiles are still associated with an ongoing investigation
  • donors have not withdrawn consent

If the check is inconclusive or the agency fails to respond, the NDDB will:

  • destroy the biological sample
  • remove the DNA profile and all related information from the index

Finding a DNA profile match

NCMPUR will contact investigators if there is a match with a DNA profile held in the humanitarian indices. If a DNA profile in a humanitarian index matches one in a criminal index, NCMPUR will provide the missing person or unidentified remains investigator with contact information for the criminal investigator.

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