Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund - Application Guide

Table of Contents


National Search and Rescue Program (NSP)

The goal of the NSP is a Canada where the critical importance of search and rescue is reflected in a multi-jurisdictional approach to promoting individual, collective and organizational behaviors that minimize the risk of injury or loss of life while maintaining timely and effective response services.

Achievement of this goal rests on two primary objectives:

Educate individuals and organizations on the assessment of risks and the importance of acquiring and using the knowledge, skills and equipment needed to minimize injury and/or loss of life;
Ensure an effective and capable SAR response in all areas of Canada.

The Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund (SAR NIF)

The SAR NIF contributes financially towards projects that improve and enhance the objectives of the National Search and Rescue Program (NSP).

To achieve this, SAR NIF funding is provided for projects that:

The SAR NIF has an annual allotment of $7.6 million available to provincial and territorial governments, profit and not-for profit Canadian organizations and volunteer associations and academia entities with an interest in SAR.

Given that the SAR NIF may fund multi-year projects, funding available for new projects will vary year to year.

Annual Program Priorities

The SAR NIF priorities are established annually in consultation with the Interdepartmental Committee on Search and Rescue (ICSAR). The annual program priorities are available online in the SAR NIF Call for Proposals.

Funding applications must clearly address one of the annual priorities for the call for proposals.

SAR NIF Application Guide and Its Annexes

This Guide and its annexes provide general eligibility criteria and other information and tools to be used by the applicant when preparing their SAR NIF application package for funding consideration.

General Application Information

Eligible recipients

The eligible recipients of the Program include provincial and territorial governments, profit and not-for-profit Canadian organizations and volunteer associations, and academia.

Annual SAR NIF Call for Proposals

The 2021-2022 call for proposals will be open from September 15, 2020 to November 19, 2020.

All applications that are submitted under the current year's SAR NIF Call for Proposals must be for projects starting no earlier than April 1, 2021.

SAR NIF Partners

SAR NIF partners are federal departments/agencies, provincial/territorial government departments/agencies having responsibility for SAR, and recognized national, provincial/territorial SAR volunteer associations.

SAR NIF partners provide guidance and advice to applicants in the course of developing their project and application to the program. As a result of those consultations, the SAR NIF partner may provide a letter of support which should be submitted with the funding application. Letters of support provide an indication that a given project is aligned with a SAR NIF partner’s mandate and priorities and will be taken under consideration as part of the merit process.

Determining the appropriate SAR NIF partner is an important step in the SAR NIF application process. Applicants should review the mandate and jurisdictional responsibilities of all SAR NIF partners to ensure that they reach out and consult with the appropriate one.

Eligible applicant's wishing to submit applications for funding under the SAR NIF are highly encouraged to:

Refer to the list of SAR NIF Partners and their respective contact information.

Applying for Funding

General Eligibility Requirements

Those applying for SAR NIF funding must meet the following requirements in order for their application to be considered for funding:

Applicants must submit their application and all related documentation by the deadline specified in the current year SAR NIF Call for Proposals.


Prior to applying for SAR NIF funds, applicants must secure funding from sources other than PS to contribute to the total cost of the project. The In-kind and/or cash contribution from other sources must represent a minimum of 5% of the total project cost.

Applicants must provide letters of commitment confirming all other sources of funding (in-kind and/or cash). Each letter must contain the following:

An in-kind contribution is a non-cash donation of labour, facilities, or equipment towards the project to which can be attributed a cash value.

Rebates, vouchers, and discounts are NOT considered to be in-kind contributions.

When listing SAR volunteer hours as an in-kind contribution, the value will be set at $25 per hour.

A cash contribution is any monetary contribution from sources other than PS.

The total SAR NIF funding will not exceed ninety-five (95) percent of the project cost.

Joint Proposal

SAR NIF partners may collectively submit a proposal that is of mutual benefit. The proposal must address an annual SAR NIF priority in addition to clearly articulate the common expected outcomes and results have been identified by participating jurisdictions. Identified collective need and the benefits should be as equitable as possible. Examples of joint proposals may include, but are not limited to, the following types of activities:

In submitting a joint proposal, partners must designate a lead partner, who will act as the applicant and, if successful, the recipient of SAR NIF funding. The SAR NIF Application for Funding must be signed by a representative from each of the participating partners.

Contact information for federal, provincial and territorial SAR NIF partners can be found in the SAR partners list.

The SAR NIF Application

All sections of the SAR NIF Application for Funding, including the project budget, and work plan must be completed and submitted by the applicant. Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding.

The entire application package, including the letter of support from the SAR NIF partner, the letters of commitment for in-kind and cash contributions, and the commitment letter(s) for sustainability of the project must be received by PS no later than 11:59 pm (ET) on the deadline date indicated in the current Call for Proposals.

Applicant Checklist

All sections of the Application for Funding must be duly completed and submitted with all the necessary supporting letters and documents.

SAR NIF Applicants are encouraged to use this checklist to ensure that their application package is complete. Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding.

The SAR NIF Application:


Work plan:

IMPORTANT: Applications or additional information received after the deadline set out in the annual Call for Proposals will not be considered for SAR NIF funding.

Important Information

SAR NIF Merit Process

The SAR NIF merit process is an annual activity undertaken to review and evaluate applications for funding received following a call for proposals. The merit process results in a list of projects selected for funding.

Once the SAR NIF merit process has ended and the projects have been approved by PS, the SAR NIF applicants and partners will be advised of the results. Based on available funding, PS then begins the development of contribution agreements with the recipients.

SAR NIF Merit Board

Applications for funding are reviewed and assessed by the SAR NIF Merit Board comprised of federal, provincial/territorial, and volunteer SAR partner representatives. They are assessed on the general eligibility requirements, as well as their demonstrated ability to:

The SAR NIF Merit Board will assess all aspects of the proposed project including the management capacity of the applicant and the financial risks.

The SAR NIF Merit Board will also weigh if consultation(s) took place with a SAR partner and if that SAR partner gave their support and endorsement.

Contribution Agreement

Applicants who are successful will be contacted to enter into a funding agreement articulating the terms and conditions of the funding and project start date.

Once the contribution agreement is signed, recipients must ensure that they understand and meet the terms and conditions of the contribution agreement throughout the entire funding period.

Official Languages

Public Safety Canada is committed to enhancing the vitality of the official language minority communities supporting and assisting their development, and promoting the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.

A statement on how the initiative will target both linguistic communities must be included in the application. Please also provide specific details in your project summary and work plan, and account for related costs (e.g. translation) in your project budget.

If it is determined that the initiative will not target both linguistic communities, a justifying statement must be included. Public Safety Canada officials may want to validate and/or discuss this information with the applicant in order to determine if linguistic commitments should be included.

For additional information, see the Official Languages Act

Contact the SAR NIF Team

For more information, questions and comments please contact the SAR NIF team.

Annex A – Definitions

For the purpose of the SAR NIF, the following definitions apply:

Tasks performed within the framework of a project to accomplish the stated objectives;
A person, organization or association that submits a proposal for funding consideration;
Cash Contribution
A monetary donation towards the project and obtained from sources other than the SAR NIF;
Contribution Agreement
An agreement signed between PS and a recipient that allows for the funding of an approved SAR NIF project. This is a legal document and contains all of the terms and conditions for funding;
In-kind Contribution
A non-cash donation of labour, facilities, or equipment towards the project that can be given a cash value and that is obtained from sources other than the SAR NIF;
Interdepartmental Committee on Search and Rescue (ICSAR)
A committee providing advice on SAR matters, chaired by PS - the Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management and Programs Branch - and composed of representatives from federal departments and agencies having a responsibility in SAR: Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Canadian Coast Guard); Department of National Defence (Canadian Forces); Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Environment Canada (Meteorological Service of Canada); Parks Canada; and Transport Canada; as well as Canadian Space Agency, Global Affairs Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, and Industry, Science, and Economic Development Canada.
National Search and Rescue Program (NSP)
The National SAR Program refers to the collective activities of government and non-governmental organizations in Canada having a primary or supporting role in the delivery of search and rescue response or prevention;
A group or organization whose project has been approved for SAR NIF funding, and with whom an agreement has been established and signed;
Recognized National, Provincial or Territorial SAR Volunteer Association
A national, provincial or territorial association/organization comprised of volunteers whose purpose is to provide search and rescue services. Associations are required to provide a letter of commitment from the SAR NIF partner of the jurisdiction that is impacted by the proposed initiative;
SAR NIF Merit Board
Chaired by the Senior Director, EM Programs, PS, and composed of representatives, or delegates of ICSAR, a representative for the provinces and territories and a representative for the National volunteer associations. The Board evaluates and recommends proposals for SAR NIF funding;
SAR NIF Merit Process
Refers to the process of review and assessment that takes place for all applications received in response to the annual SAR NIF Call for Proposals;
SAR NIF Partner
Refers to a federal department/agency, a provincial/territorial government organization with SAR responsibilities, or a recognized national or provincial SAR volunteer association.

Annex B – SAR Partners

Applications may be submitted through a:

1. Federal SAR NIF Partner

If the project supports federal SAR responsibilities (for example, SAR response on oceans, Great Lakes and/or national parks).

These partners include:

Canadian Armed Forces (DND)
Federal air SAR resources: overall coordination of air and marine SAR response; ground searches for air and marine incidents
Canadian Coast Guard (DFO)
Primary marine SAR resources; coordinated response with Canadian Armed Forces; marine communications
Meteorological Service of Canada
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) - Weather warnings, forecasts and data, education and research
Parks Canada
Inland SAR response and prevention in National Parks
National Search and Rescue Secretariat (NSS)
Manages and coordinates Canada’s National SAR Program with federal, provincial and territorial partners; interoperability and coordination within SAR community and its volunteers

The following eligible applicants are included in this section:

2. Provincial/Territorial Governments

If the project supports provincial and territorial SAR responsibilities (for example: ground and inland water SAR). These are coordinated by emergency management organizations and police forces of jurisdiction.

3. Recognized National, Provincial or Territorial SAR Volunteer Association

For the purposes of the SAR NIF, these associations are:

Refer to their contact information

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