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Tom B.
Tom B., Barrister & Solicitor
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My question involves police conduct in the province of

Customer Question

My question involves police conduct in the province of Ontario.
My question is about my long term girlfriend. Girlfriend is 26 and has not seen her family in passed 3.5 months. Two days ago a family member sent her an email saying if she does not stay in contact they will get the police to do a welfare check to find out if she’s ok and to know if she still lives in the same city (markham) as they are (we currently are in London).
Since attending a codependancy program and therapy to address traumas from childhood, she had been stepping away from them more and more and has made clear her wish never to have any contact with them again in life the last time they spoke.
When she got off the phone she was really upset and crying. She wants to be able to feel sure that they will never be able to have even indirect contact or knowledge of her ever again. So what are the requirements for a police officer to be able to do a welfare check? Can they give information to family like what city or province she is living in?
If that is the case, we would like to know the options available. Is there for example something she could sign that would make the police unable to ever do welfare checks on her? Or a way to make the police unable to provide any information to her family under that or any other pretense (if they are allowed to do that to begin with)? She does not want them even to tell her family if she is ok or not as she wants the connection completely removed.
We have looked into steps she can take to stay hidden from a private investigator in case one ever gets hired for the purpose of tracking her down but if the police will give information to family I don’t know what she can do.
Please advise. Thank you.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 6 months ago.

Hello, thank you for the question.

I assume that your girlfriend's family doesn't know that she's in London. That's pretty obvious.

Sorry, I didn't see your whole post. I'm reading it now.

A welfare check is when the police are alerted that someone might be in jeopardy, like a person who is a shut-in and hasn't been seen in a while, or where there's a court order between two people to have no contact due to domestic violence and a neighbour calls in to say that they are both under the same roof.

The police can do the check at the last known Markham address and will have to report that she doesn't appear to be there. At that point, the family could call her in as a "missing person".

You can't do anything to keep the police from responding to a report about her or a welfare check. If the police track her down, she can remind them that she's an adult and that she simply wants nothing to do with her family.

Regarding private investigators, you can't stop her family from hiring them if they know what city she's in. The police shouldn't tell her family what city she's in, but if they appear to be sympathetic then the police will say she's in safe place. If in fact they know.

You're asking if there's any way to stop her family from calling the authorities. Unfortunately there isn't. But if she's fine then the police will close the books on this welfare check pretty quickly.

Does that answer you? Please reply with question or comment.

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