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, becoming the third province to add Facebook as an alert tool. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island both launched AMBER Alert Facebook pages earlier this year.
“The public’s help is critical in locating an abducted child and thanks to our new partner Facebook,” said OPP Commissioner Chris D. Lewis. “We now have a special AMBER Alert Facebook page we can use as an important broadcast medium when we issue AMBER Alerts in Ontario.”
Ontario AMBER Alert partners have teamed up with Facebook to create a special Ontario 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 system.
“Protecting children is a responsibility shared by parents, educators, members of the public sector, and companies like Facebook.” commented Jordan Banks, Managing Director for Facebook Canada. “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.”
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 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.” stated Jim Bradley, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
The Ontario Provincial Police facilitates the Amber Alert 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, and 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.
Canadians can also sign up to receive Wireless Amber Alerts on their smart phones.