Backgrounder Article from  Public Safety Canada

Archived - Protecting Privacy Rights

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

DNA analysis can be a powerful tool for investigators. Safeguards were carefully built into the proposed changes to the DNA Identification Act (DNAIA) to ensure that the privacy rights of Canadians will be protected.

It is important to note that, under the DNAIA, it is a criminal offence for anyone to use or communicate any DNA information for a purpose other than that which is stated in the Act. Proposed changes to the Act clearly describe how the DNA may be used to support missing persons, unidentified human remains and criminal investigations. For instance:

  • Investigators would only be permitted to submit DNA for inclusion in the Missing Persons Index if they can demonstrate that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that DNA analysis will assist in an ongoing investigation and that other investigative techniques were tried and failed, or where the situation is urgent.
  • The informed consent of a donor would be required before DNA profiles could be included in the Relatives of the Missing, Victims  or Voluntary indices. Individuals could withdraw their consent at any time, which would require the RCMP to remove the DNA profile from the National DNA Data Bank.
  • The RCMP would implement a review process to ensure that DNA profiles contained in the Victims Index, Missing Persons Index and Relatives of Missing Persons Index or Voluntary Donors Index are associated with ongoing investigations and that consent to retain the profile is still valid. Any profile where these criteria are not still being met would be removed.
  • Should a missing person be found alive, their DNA and the DNA of their family members would be removed from the Missing Persons Index and the Relatives of the Missing Index.
  • Should a DNA profile from a partial remain be identified to a living person, the profile would be removed from the Human Remains Index.
  • DNA profiles in the Relatives of the Missing Index would only be compared to the Missing Persons Index to confirm a DNA profile from a particular missing person or to the Human Remains Index to identify human remains through a process called “kinship analysis.” DNA profiles in the Relatives of the Missing Index could not be compared against the criminal indices in the National DNA Data Bank.

Search for related information by keyword

Public Safety Canada Health and Safety

Date modified: