Quebec is about to launch a one-year test of a new alert system that will notify residents when someone "living with a major neurocognitive disorder or showing symptoms of one" goes missing. The pilot project, called Alerte SILVER, will run in only three MRCs: Drummond (including the city of Drummondville) in the Centre-du-Québec region, Joliette on the North Shore in the Lanaudière region, and Vallée-de-l'Or in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region.
Between January 23, 2023, and January 23, 2024, people in those areas will get a cellphone notification in French and English via the Québec en Alerte system in urgent cases involving a missing person with a qualifying condition, such as Alzheimer's.
"Major neurocognitive disorders lead to the progressive loss of cognitive functions, particularly memory, language and judgment," the Sûreté du Québec said in a January 19 press release.
"Since the disappearance of these vulnerable individuals can, unfortunately, be fatal, it seems essential to consider all the means at our disposal to help maximize the chances of finding them safe and sound."
The provincial police force will be responsible for deciding when to trigger alerts and will "collect tangible data" on their effectiveness over the course of the pilot "in anticipation of an evaluation of [...] large-scale deployment."
In June 2022, when the Quebec government first announced the Alerte SILVER (an acronym for Système d'information pour localiser les personnes vulnérables égarées et recherchées) project, officials vowed notifications "will be limited as much as possible" to zones where members of the public could be most helpful.