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Serial killer Clifford Olson remains behind bars, but the impact of his horrific case has rippled across the Canadian justice system for 25 years and will continue for years to come.

Whether the influence of the case is felt in how parole hearings are handled or how serial offenders are tracked, the self-described Beast of British Columbia has cast a long shadow in the legal world.

Retired RCMP inspector Ron MacKay, Canada's first criminal profiler, said that when Mr. Olson was sentenced to life in prison in 1982 after confessing to murdering eight girls and three boys, it was apparent that some form of system was needed to track serial offenders.

"He was the most notorious killer of his day for sure," Mr. MacKay said in an interview from Ottawa. "It caused the RCMP to re-examine how they did multijurisdictional investigations."

Police forces realized it was time to put aside traditional turf rivalry and create a central repository to compare violent crimes.

In 1991, Mr. MacKay and researcher Sergeant Greg Johnson were asked to examine the U.S. Violent Crime Apprehension Program (ViCAP) and to create a similar program for Canada, a system now known as the Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System or ViCLAS.

ViCLAS, which is multilingual, is now used around the world to link crimes in different countries.

The system has also ensured cross-jurisdictional co-operation between police forces such as B.C.'s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

IHIT brings experienced homicide investigators and homicide subject experts from all B.C. Lower Mainland RCMP detachments and municipal departments into one centralized structure.

The system also grew out of the combined efforts of the RCMP and the Vancouver Police Department to find out who was responsible for killing dozens of women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Mr. Olson's appearance at a Quebec prison parole board hearing this week -- as well as his "faint-hope" hearing several years ago -- has prompted the government to look at changing the rules for killers like him so they can no longer taunt the families of their victims.

The federal government is considering changing a law that guarantees first-degree murderers the right to a hearing every two years once they have served their mandatory 25-year prison sentence, Justice Minister Vic Toews said Tuesday.

He said the government is examining options such as dismissing parole applications without a hearing in cases where criminals have shown no sign of rehabilitation.

Mr. Olson taunted victims' families at his faint-hope hearing 10 years ago. Public outrage prompted the government to strip serial killers of the right to ask for early parole at the 15-year mark.

"Just the fact that he was eligible for that prompted changes to that legislation so that multiple murderers are no longer able to apply for it," National Parole Board spokesman John Vandoremalen said.

But, he mused, while many changes in law have been made, they cannot be retroactively applied to Mr. Olson.

"They can't change the game in midstream on you," he said.