Awards of Excellence - Description of Awards
Recipients of Awards of Excellence receive a memento from the National Search and Rescue Secretariat on behalf of the Minister of Public Safety Canada. The Awards of Excellence do not have a monetary value attached to them.
The names and photographs of the awards recipients, along with citations summarizing their accomplishments, will be posted on this website. As a general rule, depending upon the number and type of nominations received, one award will be presented annually in each of the following four categories. Additional details are available on the nomination and selection process pages.
Award of Excellence for Education and Training
The Award of Excellence for Education and Training recognizes those who have made an outstanding contribution to training and education in the field of search and rescue. For example, this may include, but may not necessarily be limited to:
- Identifying and successfully addressing a long-standing training or educational need for search and rescue workers.
- Achieving excellence in the development and delivery of search and rescue prevention programs, or similar initiatives aimed at promoting public safety and reducing the need for search and rescue services.
- Consistently exceeding standards for the delivery and/or development of search and rescue training programs.
- Establishing a center of expertise for search and rescue knowledge, and sharing that expertise effectively with others.
The nomination must highlight the special or exceptional quality of the training or educational initiative which makes the nominee a candidate for a National SAR Program Award of Excellence.
Award of Excellence for Innovation and Research
Formerly known as two separate awards (the Award of Excellence for Innovation, and the Award of Excellence for Research), the two award categories were permanently combined in 2016 to create the Award of Excellence for Innovation and Research. The intent of the amalgamation is to broaden the scope of the category and allow for a greater number of nominations.
The Award of Excellence for Innovation and Research recognizes those who have made an outstanding contribution in the field of research or innovation or have solved a problem or successfully leveraged an opportunity that has served to enhance search and rescue, to the benefit of search and rescue response and/or prevention. “Research” may include the natural and applied sciences, social sciences, humanities, or a related discipline. This may include those initiatives which have addressed a long-standing research need or gap in knowledge. For example, this may include, but may not necessarily be limited to:
- Achieving excellence in the development of a new or an improved technology that promises to enhance search and rescue alerting or response.
- Significantly contributing to the body of knowledge on human behaviour and decision-making, as it relates to the design of search and rescue prevention programs.
- Collaborating nationally or internationally on a research initiative that may provide significant guidance to search and rescue programs, policies, or practices.
- Developing a practical model to identify and overcome organizational barriers, and improve interoperability in search and rescue.
“Innovation” may involve technology or equipment, but may also include innovative approaches or techniques. For example, this may include, but may not necessarily be limited to:
- Successfully applying new technologies – or existing technologies in an innovative manner -- to enhance the provision of search and rescue services.
- Implementing new practices or processes that have created a positive impact on search and rescue in Canada.
- Establishing new partnerships for the benefit of search and rescue (e.g. between or among front-line responders, industry, researchers, other stakeholders).
- Building or developing a new capacity for search and rescue response or prevention within an organization, or within a particular geographical area where it did not previously exist.
The nomination must highlight the special or exceptional quality of the research or of the innovation, which makes the nominee a candidate for this Award of Excellence, and should include at a minimum:
- What problem was solved, or what opportunity was leveraged;
- What the innovation or research was, and why it was new or unique (product, service, approach);
- A qualitative or quantitative assessment of the enhancements or improvements made as a result of the innovation or of the research.
Award of Excellence for Leadership
The Award of Excellence for Leadership recognizes those who have distinguished themselves as leaders or outstanding advocates for search and rescue, either locally, nationally, or internationally. For example, this may include, but may not necessarily be limited to:
- Exemplary management and the ability to motivate, resulting in significant enhancements to a search and rescue unit, group, or organization.
- Displaying outstanding leadership in search and rescue during a major crisis or unexpected event.
- Advocating a change, or successfully implementing a new initiative or policy which has resulted in the enhancement of search and rescue response and/or prevention.
- Inspiring or instilling a culture of excellence in search and rescue, which has led to enhanced safety and effectiveness.
The nomination must highlight the special or exceptional quality of the leadership exercised by the individual or group, which makes the nominee a candidate for this Award of Excellence.
Award of Excellence for Exemplary Service
The Award of Excellence for Exemplary Service recognizes special and outstanding service to search and rescue provided by an individual or organization, usually over a significant period of time, or during a critical event of widespread or national and/or international significance. More specifically:
- For individuals, for a lifetime of service; or for a period of sustained and exceptional contributions to search and rescue, either as a volunteer, as a paid professional, or both.
- For organizations, for long-standing and exceptional service to SAR.
- For both individuals and organizations, for exceptional service to search and rescue during a crisis or critical event of widespread or national/international significance.
“Service to search and rescue” may include a wide range of activities, such as frontline incident response or coordination; public awareness and communication; academic research or teaching; the provision of logistics or administrative support to SAR responders; the manufacturing, supply, or servicing of search and rescue equipment; advocacy and support to volunteer organizations; program management; policy development; and many other possibilities.
It must be emphasized that the examples provided for each award category in this section are intended for general guidance only, and are not meant to be limiting or prescriptive. Each nomination will be evaluated on its own merit, as well as its merit relative to the other nominations received in the category.
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