c/o Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, 199 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5L 1A9, (647) 496–4688

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 12, 2024

Autism Coalition Calls for the Passage of Bill 74
The Missing Persons Amendment Act
Immediate Action Necessary to Protect Vulnerable Individuals

Toronto, ON – On June 12, 2022, 11-year-old Draven Graham, an autistic child with limited verbal skills and sensory sensitivities, went missing from his home in Lindsay, Ontario. Despite a community-wide search effort, Draven was found deceased the following day. Today is the second anniversary of that tragedy, and the Ontario Autism Coalition (OAC) is calling on the Ontario government to urgently pass Bill 74, the Missing Persons Amendment Act.

This legislation was introduced by MPP Monique Taylor the aftermath of his death. It was prompted by advocates who launched petitions calling for a specialized alert system for missing autistic and other vulnerable individuals, gathering tens of thousands of signatures in a matter of days. If passed, the Bill would establish a proactive alert system for vulnerable individuals who go missing, ensuring their swift and safe return to their loved ones.

Six months later, in December 2022, Shirley Love, a senior with Alzheimer’s, went missing. Despite her family’s desperate attempts to find her, she was found deceased, further highlighting the critical need for a system that alerts the community when vulnerable individuals go missing.

The tragic stories of Draven Graham and Shirley Love underscore the urgent need for this legislation. The introduction of Bill 74 in March 2023 was a direct response to these tragedies. Advocates, including the OAC, have tirelessly campaigned for over a year to see this bill through to public hearings. However, two years have passed since Draven’s death, and Ontario remains without a dedicated alert system for vulnerable individuals.

“The government’s inaction is a blatant disregard for the safety and well-being of our community,” said Bruce McIntosh, Founding President of the OAC. “We still have a government that sits on life-saving policies while our community cannot afford to wait any longer.”

The Ontario Autism Coalition and other advocacy groups are demanding that the government prioritize the passage and implementation of Bill 74. The safety of vulnerable individuals should never be a matter of delay.

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For Further Information Contact:

Alina Cameron
President, Ontario Autism Coalition, (647) 496-4688
Email: alina.cameron@ontarioautismcoalition.com

The Ontario Autism Coalition is a non-profit Ontario corporation dedicated to advocacy
and political action on behalf of people with autism.
www.ontarioautismcoalition.com