Canadian Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Joyce Murray has confirmed that CA$2 million (US$1.55 million) in funding will be made available to ten indigenous communities for the purchase of search and rescue (SAR) boats and related safety equipment.
The Canadian Coast Guard launched the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Program in 2017, under the Oceans Protection Plan, to strengthen coastal communities’ capacity to participate in maritime SAR activities. Combined with training in SAR, the program helps indigenous communities in coastal areas become new members of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.
The ten communities that will receive funding are Hamlet of Pangnirtung in Nunavut; Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations and Nisga’a Nation in British Columbia; Whitefish River First Nation and Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory in Ontario; Cree Nation of Waskaganish in Quebec; MAWIW Council (representing Elsipogtog First Nation and Esgenoopetitj First Nation) in New Brunswick; We’koqma’q First Nation in Nova Scotia; and, Miawpukek First Nation and Makkovimuit Trust (representing the Inuit communities of Nain and Makkovik) in Newfoundland and Labrador.
To date, 40 indigenous coastal communities or organisations on all three of Canada’s coasts have received over CA$12 million (US$9.27 million) in funding to buy or retrofit boats and related safety equipment. Under the next phase of the Oceans Protection Plan, the program will continue to help communities build, enhance, or sustain their capacity to respond to marine search and rescue incidents.
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