Search & Rescue Funding

Search & Rescue Funding

Over the past 25 years, the annual number of Search & Rescue incidents in Western Canada has increased dramatically. This has resulted in increasing financial pressures on existing Search & Rescue operations, and discussions regarding the most appropriate means of funding these operations.

CWSAA supports either a government-funded or ‘user-pay’ approach to Search & Rescue Funding:

  • A government-funded approach is consistent with the traditional roles & responsibilities of the federal and provincial governments.
  • A ‘User-pay’ model has merit from both a fairness and accountability perspective. A ‘User-pay’ system could be augmented by an insurance program, to ensure affordability. Education would play a critical role in the success of such a system.

CWSAA opposes funding Search & Rescue operations via Lift Ticket Taxation, for the following reasons:

  • The majority of Ski Area Customers do not ski out of bounds.
  • The majority of Search & Rescue operations are not related to Ski Area Customers skiing out of bounds.
  • Ski Areas already provide support for Search & Rescue operations, and are generally not fully paid for these services.
  • Ski Areas are already heavily taxed by all three levels of government.
  • 52% of Western Canadian Ski Areas are currently reporting negative net income.


This policy was approved by the CWSAA Board at the January 20, 2014 CWSAA Board Meeting.