The government of Canada has announced over $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.
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 the country, representing ground, air and maritime domains.
The 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.
The development of a national training and accreditation program is intended to 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.
Cindy Sheppard, Executive Director, Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada, welcomed the investment, which she said will allow SARVAC and its stakeholders to investigate, analyze, develop and implement a national accreditation and certification program. “The success of this project is a move towards a national integrated all-hazards emergency response by certified volunteer GSAR responders.”