NDP MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville Selina Robinson introduced legislation in the B.C. legislature Tuesday morning that would create an Amber Alert system for missing persons with alzheimers and dementia.
The Silver Alert system, which is almost identical to the successful Amber Alert framework for tracking missing children, would widely notify the public when a senior goes missing or wanders.
The bill was inspired by the disappearance of 64-year-old Shin Noh, who wandered from his Coquitlam home in September and has not been seen since.
His son, Sam Noh, believes his father would have been found had a system like the Silver Alert been in place.
"Our community did not have a strategy for this. We're not experts in search and rescue. We had to rally up the community to look for my Dad," he said.
Noh was spotted twice on the day he disappeared, but those who saw him did report it because they did not know he was missing.
"Time was of the essence and I believe if the word was out quickly, we would have found him," said Noh.
The government will not support the opposition bill. Still, B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake claims he is willing to consider a similar bill from his caucus.
"There's a concern that's been expressed that if you have another alert system in place, it will desensitize the public to the Amber Alert system and there's an ethical concern about a person's right to privacy," he said.
"We have to work through those issues very carefully before we decide to go through with a Silver Alert type of program."
Lake said he could not predict when the government might introduce its own Silver Alert bill.