Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund?

The Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund – commonly known as SAR NIF – is a Government of Canada contribution program. It was established by the federal government in 1988, and is managed by Public Safety (PS). The SAR NIF provides up to $7.6M of annual funding for projects that will improve the National Search and Rescue Program.

Who can benefit from the SAR NIF?

All individuals and groups with projects that enhance search and rescue in Canada including:

What kind of projects can be funded under the SAR NIF?

SAR NIF projects that aim to improve SAR in Canada whether related to response or prevention may be eligible for funding. Those interested in applying should consult the annual priorities to determine if their project could be eligible.

Examples can include initiatives like:

Are new SAR NIF Guidelines released every year?

The SAR NIF Program is always evolving in order to respond to new government policy guidelines as well as requests and suggestions from SAR NIF partners and recipients. SAR NIF partners are updated regularly on any changes to guidelines. Changes are also reflected in the most recent versions of the Application Guide.

How is the proposal submitted?

The application can be made directly to Public Safety Canada.

Who decides if a proposal is accepted?

Proposals are reviewed and assessed by the SAR NIF Merit Board and all aspects of eligibility and final approval are assessed by PS.

Who makes up the Merit Board and ICSAR?

The board is comprised of representatives of the federal, provincial and territorial, SAR authorities and the SAR volunteer sector.

The Interdepartmental Committee on Search and Rescue (ICSAR) is comprised of representatives from federal SAR delivery departments and agencies. It provides advice to PS on SAR programs, including SAR NIF.

How are funds transferred to the recipients?

Payment will be issued to reimburse the recipient for incurred expenditures. Funding agreement will detail the reporting and payment schedules requirements. Payments are made via electronic transfers.  

What if I spend less or more than expected?

Reimbursements will only be made for eligible expenditures. Any unspent funds will be reallocated to other SAR NIF projects. Requests for additional project funds will be considered only under exceptional circumstances and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What if I have a surplus and would like to reinvest funds?

Funds are approved for a given project scope and set of activities. The recipient should advise PS if there is underspending.

Can we purchase new equipment with SAR NIF funds?

Equipment purchases to improve SAR capabilities are accepted as long as they are justified and price estimates are based on competitive market prices. Please consult the Application Guide and the terms and conditions of the program for further details concerning eligible and non-eligible expenditures.

Can we use SAR NIF funds for travel expenses?

Travel costs may be included in the project proposal but must be directly linked to the project objectives. Travel is reimbursed based on the Treasury Board Secretariat approved rates. International travel, including to the United States, is not eligible under the SAR NIF.

What if I have questions?

The Application Guide should be your first stop for SAR NIF information and the SAR NIF team can also be contacted. In addition, individuals and groups interested in submitting a SAR NIF proposal should contact the organization responsible for search and rescue within their area of interest as described in the SAR Partners List.

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