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Ontario Missing Persons Act inspired by Daniel Trask’s case

Jun 4, 2019

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Eight years after Waterloo’s Daniel Trask disappeared into the wilderness, Ontario is giving police new investigative powers in missing persons cases in his memory.

Trask’s mother and brother were at Queen’s Park Tuesday when the solicitor general announced that the Missing Persons Act will come into effect on July 1.

“It’s a huge moment. I’ve been at this for a long time now,” said his mother Maureen Trask, who has lobbied for years to change the way missing person cases are handled.

“It was amazing. Now we can finally celebrate.”

Ontario’s Solicitor General Sylvia Jones acknowledged Maureen Trask’s exhaustive work to give police more investigative tools to help solve missing persons cases. The local mother was introduced and given a standing ovation by the MPPs.

Trask said it took an “all-party effort” to change the law around missing persons cases in Ontario. She found an ally in Waterloo New Democrat MPP Catherine Fife, who introduced a private member’s bill in 2015 — a few months after Daniel’s remains were found in Temagami — urging Ontario to adopt legislation modelled after laws in other provinces.

That bill became the basis for the Missing Persons Act introduced by the Liberals in 2017, which has now been put into effect by the Tories.

“It’s been a long time coming,” an emotional Fife told the legislature.

“I think there’s a lesson for every legislator here. It reminds us who we work for, and the work we can accomplish across party lines. In this culture where partisanship is out of control, it feels good to accomplish something.”

When Daniel Trask vanished into the backwoods of northern Ontario in 2011, there was no DNA database for missing people, few investigative tools for police and no national framework to deal with cases like his.


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