The federal government has introduced legislation that would help police identify human remains and solve missing persons cases through the creation of a DNA-based national Missing Persons Index.

The legislation would amend the DNA Identification Act to expand the RCMP’s National DNA Data Bank. Along with the Crime Scene Index and the Convicted Offenders indices already in the data bank, the legislation would create a missing persons index, a relatives of the missing index, as well as a human remains index.

The new legislation would allow police to cross-reference the DNA from unidentified remains with DNA in the data bank collected from personal items belonging to missing persons. In cases in which the DNA of missing people was not available, DNA from their family members would be stored in the data bank instead.

In a news release, Public Safety Canada said the legislation includes important safeguards to ensure that the privacy rights of Canadians are respected.

The legislation was included in the Budget Implementation Act, which was introduced last Thursday, but wasn’t formally announced until Monday, during a press conference at the RCMP national headquarters in Ottawa.

In the federal budget the government unveiled in February, they pledged up to $8.1-million over five years starting to create a DNA-based national missing persons index.