Organization and Responsibility for SAR in Canada
Search and rescue falls into three natural categories - marine, air and ground.
The categories overlap to some extent, but there are obvious differences in the types of SAR skills and equipment needed. Sometimes a rescue entails flying a highly sophisticated helicopter through severe weather to hoist someone from a sinking ship; sometimes what is needed is the skilled eye of a trained tracker working through an urban park.
SAR responsibilities are also organized by jurisdiction - federal and provincial/territorial.
Each is also represented on the Interdepartmental Committee on Search and Rescue (ICSAR), which is chaired and co-ordinated by the National Search and Rescue Secretariat.
Generally speaking, the Canadian Forces and CASARA (Civil Air Search And Rescue Association) provide air resources for SAR incidents under federal jurisdiction (aircraft incidents and all marine incidents in waters under federal jurisdiction, which includes the Great Lakes).
Parks Canada provides search and rescue services within national parks, national marine conservation areas and reserves, national historic sites and historic canals.
Outside national parks, the RCMP responds to SAR incidents in all provinces (except Ontario and Quebec), the territories and various municipalities.
The Meteorological Service of Canada provides information on climate, weather, ice and other environmental issues of particular interest to the SAR community.
And Transport Canada fosters safe and secure transportation.
Consult the SAR
Links for more information.
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