Contribution Programs

The National Search and Rescue Secretariat (the Secretariat) provides national-level policy advice and funding opportunities for the many search and rescue (SAR) organizations across Canada. Contribution programs are an important part of that work.

Search and Rescue New Initiatives Funds

The Search and Rescue New Initiatives Funds (SAR NIF) is designed to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, economy, and innovation of SAR activities.

The SAR NIF has contributed significantly to improving Canada's ability to provide an effective and capable SAR response in all areas and jurisdictions. Its ultimate outcome is to enable a seamless system through improved partnerships and increased interoperability and cooperation.

SAR NIF contributes financially towards projects that improve and enhance its objectives:

Educate individuals and organizations on the assessment of risks and the importance of acquiring and using the knowledge, skills and equipment needed to minimize injury and/or loss of life
Ensure an effective and capable SAR response in all areas of Canada

Annual priorities

In order to be considered for funding, each proposal must meet at least one of the annual priorities identified by the SAR community.

For the 2022-2023 call for proposals, the priorities were to:

Annual priorities are established through a combination of efforts including consultations with the National Search and Rescue Advisory Council and the Ground Search and Rescue Council of Canada for the whole-of-society perspective and the Interdepartmental Committee for Search and Rescue for a federal whole-of-government perspective.

To be eligible, a proposal must demonstrate that it contributes to one or more of the priorities listed in the annual call-for-proposals produced by the National Search and Rescue Secretariat, Public Safety.

How to apply

The next call for proposals for the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Funds will be in 2023.

SAR NIF Review

In 2020, Public Safety auditors released an Evaluation Report of the SAR NIF. Its purpose was to examine the relevance, design and implementation, and performance of the SAR NIF. The evaluation covered the period from fiscal year 2015-16 to 2019-20.

The audit noted numerous strengths of the program including its positive and necessary support for SAR capabilities across Canada, particularly in the area of ground SAR and that its governance was appropriate.

Public Safety appreciates the work of evaluators in the research and development of its thoughtful evaluation report and is taking steps to implement its recommendations. We anticipate that the changes will make the program accessible to a broader range of organizations within the SAR community. In addition, administrative changes are expected to reduce the application burden among those eligible to apply.

SARscene: National search and rescue conference

The national SAR conference, or SARscene, is an annual forum that helps with the coordination and implementation of SAR activities in Canada.

The conference is for the SAR community, by the SAR community. It provides an opportunity for participants to improve skills, share knowledge and best practices, learn about what's new and to continue collaboration across all levels of SAR and emergency management in Canada.

Participation is open to anyone interested from departments, and organizations related to SAR, including members of the private sector, all levels of government, and non-governmental organizations.

Public Safety provides funding to non-governmental organizations to coordinate the conference through the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund (SAR NIF).

SARscene 2023 - Dates and registration information for SARScene 2023 will be announced soon. 

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