Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund?

The Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund – commonly known as SAR NIF – is a Government of Canada contribution program. It was established by the federal government in 1988, and is managed by PS. The SAR NIF provides up to $7.6M of annual funding for projects that will improve the National Search and Rescue Program.

Who can benefit from the SAR NIF?

All individuals and groups with projects that enhance search and rescue in Canada including:

What kind of projects can be funded under the SAR NIF?

Projects that aim to improve SAR in Canada whether related to response or prevention. People interested in applying should consult the annual priorities to determine if their project could be eligible.

Examples can include initiatives like:

Are new SAR NIF Guidelines released every year?

The SAR NIF Program is always evolving in order to respond to new government policy guidelines as well as requests and suggestions from SAR NIF partners and recipients. SAR NIF partners are updated regularly on any changes to guidelines. Changes are also reflected in the most recent versions of the Applicant's Guide.

How is the proposal submitted?

This depends on the nature of the project and the involved SAR jurisdiction. Each SAR NIF proposal must be advanced to PS through one of the following:

Who decides if a proposal is accepted?

Proposals for projects to improve search and rescue within provincial or territorial jurisdictions are submitted to the Provincial or Territorial SAR NIF partner or a recognized National, Provincial or Territorial SAR volunteer association. They select the proposals that best support regional interests. A single proposal is created to reflect provincial or territorial needs and priorities and is then submitted to PS for review and consideration by the SAR NIF Merit Board. The Merit Board reviews proposals for consideration and submits their recommendations to PS for final approval.

Who makes up the Merit Board and ICSAR?

The board is comprised of representatives of the federal, provincial and territorial organizations with SAR responsibilities.

The Interdepartmental Committee on Search and Rescue (ICSAR) is comprised of representatives from federal SAR delivery departments and agencies. It provides advice to PS.

How are funds transferred to the recipients?

The approved SAR NIF funds are disbursed from PS directly to the recipient. Funding mechanisms differ depending on the type of project. Generally, funds are dispersed on the basis of invoices submitted after project expenditures have been made and on a semi-annual basis.

What if I spend less or more than expected?

Reimbursements will only be made for eligible expenditures. Any unspent funds will be reallocated to other SAR NIF projects. Requests for additional project funds will be considered only under exceptional circumstances and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Can we purchase new equipment with SAR NIF funds?

Equipment purchases to improve SAR capabilities are accepted as long as they are justified and price estimates are based on competitive market prices. Please consult our Application Guide and the terms and conditions of the program for further details concerning eligible and non-eligible expenditures.

Can we use SAR NIF funds for travel expenses?

Travel costs may be included in the project proposal but must be directly linked to the project objectives. Travel is reimbursed based on the Treasury Board Secretariat approved rates. International travel, including the United States, is not eligible under the SAR NIF.

What if I have questions?

The PS website should be your first stop for information regarding the SAR NIF. The SAR NIF team can also be contacted by email at In addition, individuals and groups interested in submitting a SAR NIF proposal should contact the government organization responsible for search and rescue within their area of interest as follows:

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