Hundreds of rapists and pedophiles are missing. Hundreds more were never added to the system in the first place. In this web exclusive, macleans. If a child goes missing, investigators can search the database for known pedophiles who live in the surrounding postal codes. At the very least, the registry is a starting point for detectives with no other leads. For one thing, it was not designed to be retroactive. Thousands of known molesters and other loathsome criminals were never added to the system in the first place, and even today, barely half of all convicted offenders end up on the registry.
In fact, the RCMP can barely keep track of those offenders who are ordered to comply. According to the latest statistics, 16, names appear on the system. Of those, 1, eight per cent are considered non-compliant in some way.
Others have been missing for months. Compliance rates vary from coast to coast. Simply put, some provinces and territories are better than others when it comes to keeping tabs on registered sex offenders. But no jurisdiction is perfect. Launched in , the provincial database is an impressive piece of technology. Every convicted sex offender in Ontario is automatically added to the system, and investigators across the province can log on and see exactly how many people in their region are following the rules.
Brian James, a member of that unit James has since transferred to another division. When the Ontario system was unveiled, Premier Mike Harris was so impressed that he offered the software to the feds, free of charge. Ottawa, he said, is going to build its own registry. So out of the blue, the feds announced they would build their own. There was no foresight. There was no database on the drawing board.
Ottawa designed its own distinct database—a trickle-down operation in which the bulk of the costs, and the work, actually falls on the provinces and territories. It is up to those offices to ensure the compliance of local sex offenders. In Ontario, however, taxpayers are now on the hook for two separate registries—all because the federal Liberals would not admit that a province, especially one run by a Conservative, had developed a superior system.
Three years later, the result has been a long list of technical glitches and bad feelings. In October, when registry officials from every province and territory met for an annual meeting, nobody from Ontario showed up. Of all the problems with the national registry, nothing bothers Ontario more than the discretionary inclusion rule. During that same span, only 1,—fewer than half—were ordered onto the national registry.
Rick Harrington, an OPP officer who works with both registries. The decision meant that thousands of known pedophiles and rapists were not included because they had finished serving their sentences by December Rational or not, the decision still left police with a monumental task.
They had to serve each and every qualified offender—more than 10, people—with a written notice to comply known as a Form According to the latest provincial update, written three months ago, the registry centre in B. The system is off-limits to most police officers, so all queries must be forwarded to the provincial registry centre.
However, most detectives feel the same way: According to that internal report: That must be done separately—on a Rolodex, for example, or on a wall calendar. Like many jurisdictions, Alberta also has a hard time conducting compliance checks. But there has been no allowance or no increase in resources. Gary McLennan, the Mountie who launched the registry in Saskatchewan, puts it this way: Although each offender is required to register every year and every time they move, the task force tries to conduct random door knocks at least once a year, ensuring that offenders are actually living where they say they are.
The compliance part of the mandate is extremely important. Without it, there is no sense having a database. Like all provinces and territories, Manitoba is also handcuffed by the fact that the computer itself cannot track compliance. For the most part, the system is working in Winnipeg, where the task force is able keep tabs on offenders living in the city.
But in the rural regions of the province, compliance is much harder to maintain. Because frontline officers are not allowed to access the system, the task force must send out requests to rural detachments, asking local officers to check on certain offenders.
Some have been missing for months. But the RCMP refuses to release their names to the public—for privacy reasons. The latest statistics reveal that of anywhere in Canada, Quebec has the highest rate of non-compliance. Almost one in five registered sex offenders is non-compliant in some way.
Dave Ward, the director of the provincial centre. They could have died. Last year, Ward and his staff implemented a system of random checks that will ensure each offender is visited by police six months after he registers. Every month, Ward contacts local police jurisdictions and forwards a list of offenders whose addresses need to be verified. Unfortunately, not every police force can spare the officers.
Between May and September , Ward sent compliance check requests to various detachments across the province. Only 59 38 per cent were actually completed. In a recent update to headquarters, Ward summed up the problem this way: The only problem, she said, relates to Form 52s.
If the early results are any indication, not everyone is living where they say they are. Of the 27 address verifications conducted in Halifax in September, six were incorrect. Two of those offenders are now under criminal investigation for non-compliance. As in Halifax, more compliance checks will almost certainly reveal a higher non-compliance rate. That means the registry centres have no idea when hundreds of dangerous criminals are supposed to show up and register. Despite repeated requests, CSC insists it does not have the legal authority to share that information.
Laurie Smith wrote in her latest update to headquarters: Not surprisingly, the Correctional Service of Canada is also hesitant to share information. In fact, officers there prefer to issue reminder notices to overdue offenders rather than charge them with non-compliance. Form 52s are also a problem. Prosecutors either forget to ask for them, or ask for them in cases when a repeat offender is already ordered to comply.