Mar 08, 2019

The government announced yesterday more than $920,000 in federal funding over three years, starting in 2018, to the Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC) under the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund. 

This funding will help develop and implement a national accreditation and certification program for Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) volunteers, strengthening their capacity to safely and professionally respond to emergencies across the country.

“Search and Rescue volunteers across the country and here in Avalon work so hard to keep Canadians safe, said Ken McDonald, Member of Parliament for the riding of Avalon. "Nearly a million dollars in funding will help volunteers better respond to emergencies both big and small in a consistent, standardized manner. Canadians can be reassured that local volunteers will have more resources to help keep them safe, even when the worst case scenario occurs.”

The development of a national training and accreditation program will ensure the consistent deployment of best practices in responding to search and rescue situations across Canada. The program will also allow multiple jurisdictions to share resources, enhancing interoperability during multi-agency responses and ultimately allowing for more effective, efficient, seamless, and safer responses to GSAR incidents.

“On behalf of the GSAR community, I would like to thank the Government of Canada for the funding contribution, which allows SARVAC and its stakeholders to investigate, analyze, develop and implement a national accreditation and certification program which fully supports the SARVAC/CSA Core Competency Standards and Training Curriculum Standards for Searchers, Team Leaders and SAR Managers," said SARVAC Executive Director Cindy Sheppard. "The success of this project is a move towards a national integrated all-hazards emergency response by certified volunteer GSAR responders.”

In Canada, search and rescue is a responsibility shared by governments, the military, volunteers, and industry groups. There are approximately 15,000 search and rescue volunteers across Canada, representing ground, air and maritime domains. Canada’s search and rescue area of responsibility is 18 million square kilometres of land and water, and includes the longest coastline in the world.