Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR)

In Canada, Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) refers to technical search and rescue skills used in the event of a disaster.  These specialized skills play a critical role in a variety of emergency situations, including urban building collapses, mudslides, flooding, and forest fires, among other disasters.

USAR is classified into light, medium or heavy capability based on the associated training requirements and equipment.

“Heavy” Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) is the most technically specialized form of USAR.  HUSAR Task Forces are interdisciplinary teams comprised of specialists from across the emergency response spectrum.  Capabilities include search and rescue, communications, logistics, emergency medical assistance, technical and canine search, and structural assessment.


In recognition of increasing disaster risks and financial challenges associated with maintaining Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) capacities, Budget 2016 provided $3.1 million annually and ongoing to establish the HUSAR Program as part of the Government's commitment to build safer and more resilient communities.

To help bolster existing HUSAR capacity, Public Safety Canada has committed to re-instating funding to HUSAR Task Forces in Vancouver (British Columbia); Toronto (Ontario); Calgary (Alberta); and the Province of Manitoba, as well as supporting the development of HUSAR capacity in Halifax (Nova Scotia) and Montreal (Quebec).

Program Description and Objectives

The HUSAR Program aims to maintain the HUSAR capabilities of Canadian HUSAR Task Forces in Vancouver (British Columbia); Calgary (Alberta); the Province of Manitoba; and Toronto (Ontario). The Program also aims to develop HUSAR capacity and capability in the underserved regions of Montreal (Quebec) and Halifax (Nova Scotia).

Canada’s national approach to emergency management needs to be reflective of the needs of all partners, and the changing risk environment. As growing cities, aging infrastructure and climate variability increase across the country, ensuring sufficient HUSAR capacity is increasingly important.

This program will:

Federal investments will be targeted towards specific HUSAR initiatives or projects on a cost-shared ratio of 75% (federal) and 25% (provincial/other). The maximum federal contribution is 75% of the cost of a HUSAR project.


The provincial or municipal legal entities responsible for the management of one of the six HUSAR Task Forces are the eligible recipients for funding under the HUSAR Program.   

How to Apply

Annually, eligible applicants are invited to submit a funding proposal under the HUSAR Program. The conditions required to access funding are outlined in the program’s Terms and Conditions. Applications undergo a review process by the HUSAR Steering Committee after which funding decisions are communicated to applicants.

Requests for information can be submitted to ps.husar-rsmuel.sp@canada.ca.


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