What’s going on with Silver Alerts in British Columbia?

During the 2020 provincial election, John Horgan promised that a New Democrat government would implement a Silver Alert system in British Columbia. He made that promise to Sam Noh, whose father Shin Noh disappeared in the Coquitlam area in 2013.

“I was thrilled at the time, we had been pleading for a while,” Noh said in an interview with CTV News on Friday. But more than a year and a half since that day, Noh said he has had no updates and no response to his inquiries.

“It’s quite disappointing and frustrating because it’s not new, we’ve been working on it since 2014 and it’s their idea, so a lot of time has passed,” Noh said,

During the time his father disappeared, Noh found an ally in current finance minister Selina Robinson. The Liberals were in power at the time, but Robinson introduced a private member’s bill.

Since then, Noh has been a strong advocate of the system, even co-founding the BC Silver Alert alert platform to which users can subscribe.

It was made with the help of Coquitlam Search and Rescue research director Michael Coyle, who was part of the original team searching for Shin Noh.

“It’s pretty much the same as an Amber Alert, the main difference being to focus on a very limited area,” Coyle said. “It just uses standard text messages.”

The term “silver alert” is currently used by Winnipeg Police when asking for the public’s help in locating vulnerable seniors.

“Just using the terminology highlights to people that this is a missing person who cannot call for help,” Coyle said.

In a statement to CTV News on Friday afternoon, the Department of Health confirmed that it is “examining strategies” to develop an alter money-like system.

“The ministry completed a jurisdictional review in 2021. A project plan, including a stakeholder engagement plan, is being developed and will be followed by consultations with key stakeholders,” the statement said. “The Prime Minister supports this work.

Noh said his group, Silver Alert Society of British Columbia, was not included in the consultations and was unaware of the work. He hopes more details will be released.

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