Ground search and rescue (GSAR) in Canada encompasses search and rescue for missing persons including those who are lost or overdue on land or inland waters. Provincial and territorial governments are the designated authorities responsible for ground search and rescue in Canada. The operational responsibility for search and rescue delivery is often delegated to the police service of jurisdiction. Police are often supported in this operational delivery by a myriad of support agencies including 300 trained volunteer teams across the nation. This horizontal structure of agencies creates complex challenges for national GSAR initiatives.
The GSAR community sees incident data as a valuable resource and essential for evidence-based decision-making regarding prevention, preparedness, alerting, response, and recovery efforts, and to support local, provincial, and national program development and sustainability. Collaboration amongst the ground search and rescue community in Canada will drive the use of GSAR data to help identify areas for improvement, ensure effective response, reduce the loss of life and suffering, as well as reduce the frequency and severity of GSAR incidents.
In March 2021, the Canadian Public Safety Operations Organization received a Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund grant to complete a project around the factors hindering the success of national data collection from Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) in Canada, as well as finding solutions to the issues identified.