If a child goes missing, investigators can search the database for known pedophiles who live in the surrounding postal codes. Others have been missing for months. But resources are stretched thin, and as the list of registered sex offenders continues to grow, it will become increasingly difficult to check on every single person.
So out of the blue, the feds announced they would build their own. For one thing, it was not designed to be retroactive.
Hundreds more were never added to the system in the first place. Simply put, some provinces and territories are better than others when it comes to keeping tabs on registered sex offenders. Three years later, the result has been a long list of technical glitches and bad feelings.
Almost one in five registered sex offenders is non-compliant in some way. When the Ontario system was unveiled, Premier Mike Harris was so impressed that he offered the software to the feds, free of charge. If a child goes missing, investigators can search the database for known pedophiles who live in the surrounding postal codes.
Like many regions, Nova Scotia is just now beginning to conduct random compliance checks. When the registry launched, officers in New Brunswick filled out Form 53s, ordering retrospective offenders to comply. Of the 27 address verifications conducted in Halifax in September, six were incorrect. There are criminal penalties for the misuse of the data either by persons authorized to have access to it or by third parties who may obtain the information.
Of those, 1, eight per cent are considered non-compliant in some way. The system is off-limits to most police officers, so all queries must be forwarded to the provincial registry centre.