Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

May 02, 2013 12:55 ET

Ministers MacKay and Findlay Announce New Initiatives to Improve Canada's Search and Rescue System

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 2, 2013) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, QC, Associate Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Delta - Richmond East, today announced several major initiatives to improve Canada's national Search and Rescue system.

"As the lead Minister for Search and Rescue activities, I firmly believe there is no such thing as 'good enough' when it comes to saving the lives of our fellow Canadians," said Minister MacKay. "Our responsibility to ensure the safety of Canadians is paramount, and we continuously seek ways to improve search and rescue in Canada."

"With the world's second largest land mass surrounded by the longest coastline, Canada is one of the most challenging countries in the world in which to conduct Search and rescue operations," said Minister Findlay. "Our immense country has an exceptionally diverse geography, including the Rocky Mountain peaks, vast territorial waters and the Arctic tundra."

Search and Rescue is a shared responsibility. The search and rescue system includes several federal departments, the Canadian Armed Forces, provinces and municipalities. Search and Rescue is also delivered with the support of the private sector and thousands of dedicated volunteers. To ensure the Government of Canada continues to deliver world-class service to Canadians, Ministers MacKay and Findlay announced the launch of a quadrennial review of search and rescue as well several other important initiatives, as follows:

  • Quadrennial Review: The review will be led by the Minister of National Defence as the Lead Minister for Search and Rescue with the support of the National Search and Rescue Secretariat. The review will provide a comprehensive perspective of Search and Rescue in Canada, with a view to enhance integration and alignment to provide a seamless system for Canadians. We will work with other federal partners including the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Coast Guard, Parks Canada, Public Safety Canada and other departments as well as with provincial/territorial governments, Search and Rescue volunteers to systematically assess the evolving needs of Search and Rescue and how we can work together to ensure these needs are met.
  • Seasonal Optimization of Search and Rescue Readiness Postures: Expanded Search and Rescue posture shifts to maintain flexibility to seasons, which already exists during the lobster harvest and Northern activity peak-periods;
  • Improved Search and Rescue Asset Management System: Regional SAR policy changes, where bases will improve the management and tracking of assets to proactively inform Joint Rescue Coordination Centres of equipment status;
  • $16.2 million for the Development of Satellite-Aided Search and Rescue: The Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) and Low Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (LEOSAR) satellite projects to improve real-time situational awareness and improved vessel tracking;
  • The completion of the renovated Joint Resource Coordination Centre in Halifax: $2 million in upgrades to modernize technical infrastructure and consolidate efforts in maritime search and rescue coordination; and
  • Improved Canadian Beacon Registry: A revamped and improved beacon registration and information website for Canadians.

As part of this exercise, savings and efficiencies in the Department of National Defence, including some of the funds currently allocated to supporting the Challenger fleet, will be re-allocated to frontline priorities that include search and rescue as a no fail mission for the Canadian Armed Forces.

All of these enhancements to Canada's National Search and Rescue Program will continue to improve this country's ability to prevent tragic death, injury, and suffering. Canadians benefit from one of the best Search and Rescue systems in the world and the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are committed to making it even better.

For more information on these initiatives, please see the following:

For imagery from the announcement in Ottawa and from the media briefing in Halifax, please see the following :

Beacon Registry Website:

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