‘It’s life or death:’ Nunavik leaders look to improve search and rescue

Participants from region’s communities to gather in Montreal, discuss challenges and how to improve

An Inukjuak community search and rescue effort is seen here in this 2019 file photo. Representatives from Nunavik’s villages are set to discuss a new search and rescue strategy in Montreal this month. (File photo by Johnny Kasudluak)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Leaders from Nunavik’s 14 villages will discuss best practices and the future of search and rescue in the region over the course of a three-day conference in Montreal this month.

Craig Lingard, Kativik Regional Government’s civil security director, announced the conference during this week’s regional council meeting in Kuujjuaq. The conference is set to take place from Dec. 11 to 13.

“It’s intended on being a reflection on past events, a good discussion on best practices and frustrations that we’re presently dealing with, and trying to develop a vision of where we’re trying to go,” Lingard said.

“It’s a very contentious issue, a very passionate issue for everybody concerned; it’s life and death for some of our citizens.”

According to Lingard, search and rescue policies can vary from community to community. For example, some villages might call on Canadian Rangers or police, while others might organize community search efforts.

The region lacks a consistent and united search and rescue framework, Lingard explained.

“It’s not always thought into or agreed to by individuals or municipalities or personalities,” Lingard said.

“I don’t know if it’s possible to find a complete consensus on something so complicated and controversial.”

To help achieve that consensus, Lingard said outside experts will weigh in. Specifically, public safety representatives from the federal and provincial government, as well as representatives from the Canadian Armed Forces, provincial police and Canadian Coast Guard will offer their ideas.

Lingard says he hopes all the participating parties will have the opportunity to share the challenges their communities are facing on this topic and work towards overcoming them.

“It’s time to reflect and say, ‘What are we doing and can we do it better?’” Lingard said.

“I can’t predict where we’re going to go, but I’m really looking forward to the discussions. We’ve got some very qualified, experienced people that will be participating.”

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by Curious Question on

    In my region of Nunavut, a few common SOS callers will go beyond the means of their given fuel on a hunt and use the SAR teams as if they’re a mobile gas station.

    Is this a problem in Nunavik as well? (And possibly other Nunavut communities)

  2. Posted by Confused on

    BS Curious.

  3. Posted by Stephen M on

    Good luck with the program, publicizing what to do before an outing is good, let people know where you are going, when you will return, being helped out on occasions much thanks to the rescue teams.

  4. Posted by 867 on

    Who needs SAR when u can just get Hercules plane to come up from winniepg

    • Posted by Kuujjuaq on

      A hercules once flew from trinton , Ont to Kuujjuaq because the ELT on a floatplane went off in the middle of a stormy night , banging against the dock.
      Thats 1044 miles. wonder , how much that cost ?

  5. Posted by NWT SAR on

    Sounds like a great conference. A series of Nunavut SAR Roundtables were held last month. Is this event connected to them?

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