RCMP shines light on missing children

May 25, 2018
Ottawa, Ontario

News release

Between 40,000 and 50,000 children are reported missing in Canada each year. Thankfully, 88 per cent are found safe within seven days. To mark National Missing Children's Day today, the RCMP is highlighting its efforts to help bring missing children home safely.

Missing persons cases are a priority for the RCMP. To this end, the RCMP has developed a National Missing Persons Strategy. Additionally, the RCMP manages the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR), which provides law enforcement, medical examiners and chief coroners with specialized services to support missing children investigations, in addition to hosting the Canada's Missing website. NCMPUR also collaborates with municipal, regional, provincial and national law enforcement agencies, as well as other governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations, where applicable.

In March 2018, NCMPUR, in partnership with the RCMP's National DNA Databank (NDDB), launched the National Missing Persons DNA Program. For the first time, DNA samples from missing persons and unidentified human remains will be added to the NDDB to determine if there is a match to each other, or to a convicted offender or crime scene DNA.

AMBER Alerts are another important tool in finding missing children. AMBER Alerts may only be activated by the police and are issued only for the most serious and time‑critical abduction cases. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to engage the public's help to locate and safely return any abducted child as quickly as possible. In 2017, seven Amber Alerts were issued, and all seven children were recovered safely.

Finally, the RCMP is a member of the Our Missing Children (OMC) program, along with the Canada Border Services Agency, Global Affairs Canada and Justice Canada. While each department has a role to play, all OMC partners work together to identify, intercept and recover missing children at home and abroad.


"Missing children cases are a priority for the RCMP. The Our Missing Children program is a unique partnership that allows us to work together with our partners to locate missing children. We are fortunate in Canada to have such a powerful and effective program that can bolster our efforts to help keep children safe from harm."

Insp. Roland Gosselin, National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Human Remains

Quick Facts

  • In 2017, 78,035 persons were reported missing in Canada; 61 per cent of those reports involved children.
  • Approximately 88 per cent of missing children are found within seven days.
  • Runaways account for the majority (76 per cent) of missing children reports.
  • Abductions are rare, and stranger abductions are even rarer. In 2017, only 0.002 per cent of all missing children reports involved stranger abductions.
  • Of all the persons reported missing in a given year, approximately 500 will remain missing after one year. Missing children make up roughly 9 per cent of that 500.
  • Most AMBER Alerts result in children being found safely. There have been 105 AMBER Alerts since the program began in December 2002, resulting in the safe return of 95 of the 105 children.

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