A Proposed Arctic Search and Rescue Strategy for Canada
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The Canadian Arctic has experienced a notable increase in maritime activity in recent years, driven in part by increased accessibility due to environmental changes as well as a growing northern cruise industry and hydrocarbon and mineral extraction projects. The present and expected future expansion of these activities has prompted concerns regarding the provision of northern government services, in particular the lack of Search and Rescue (SAR) infrastructure within the Arctic. To this end, the Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (ASAR) was signed at the 2011 Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council, requiring member states to establish an “adequate and effective search and rescue capability” (Arctic Council, 2011). Drawing upon the requirements of the recently signed ASAR Agreements, supported by a discussion regarding future northern activity projections and considerations from past Arctic SAR incidents, this study provides recommendations for a SAR strategy for the Canadian Arctic. Elements addressed include the absence of effective Strategic Management Plan for Canadian SAR, community initiatives and a discussion regarding the levels of service for SAR within the Arctic.