Halifax Search and Rescue Region

The Halifax Search and Rescue Region (SRR) is an area of some 4.7 million square kilometres that comprises:

  • all four Atlantic provinces;
  • the eastern half of the Province of Quebec;
  • the southern half of Baffin Island in Nunavut; and
  • the north-western quadrant of the Atlantic Ocean.

With more than 29,000 kilometres of coastline, 80 percent of the Halifax SRR consists of water.

The commander of Regional Joint Task Force Atlantic also commands the Halifax SRR.

Resources in the Halifax SRR

Halifax Joint Rescue Coordination Centre

The Halifax Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC Halifax), in Halifax, N.S., is the joint Canadian Armed Forces–Canadian Coast Guard centre for search-and-rescue (SAR) monitoring, alerting and emergency response in the Halifax SRR.

JRCC Halifax is responsible for air and maritime SAR response under Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC).

Marine Rescue Sub-centre Quebec

In addition to the JRCC Halifax, there is one Marine Rescue Sub-centre (MRSC) located within the Halifax SRR.  MRSC Quebec is located in Quebec City; it is responsible for coordinating marine SAR activities within its area and works with the Aeronautical Coordinator at JRCC Halifax to provide assistance to aeronautical SAR activity within their area.

SAR units

The Halifax SRR has the following primary SAR squadrons:

  • 103 Search and Rescue Squadron from 9 Wing Gander, Newfoundland, flying CH-149 Cormorant helicopters; and
  • 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron from 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia, flying CC-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft and CH-149 Cormorant helicopters.

Canadian Coast Guard vessels cover the western and eastern portions of the Halifax SRR to provide the maritime SAR response capability.

To augment the efforts of designated SAR units, any other unit of the Canadian Armed Forces or the Canadian Coast Guard that is available, suitable and capable can be tasked to any SAR mission, or to any incident requiring SAR-type response for humanitarian reasons.

Non-governmental participants in SAR operations

Volunteer organizations such as the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Civil Air SAR Association (CASARA) are important contributors to SAR operations.

Commercial and private vessels and aircraft operating or in transit near the scene of an incident may also be asked to join the SAR effort.

SAR operations in the Halifax SRR

Because the Halifax SRR extends east to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and south to the territorial waters of the United States, JRCC Halifax has developed excellent working relationships with SAR centres in Europe and the American Rescue Coordination Centres along the east coast of North America.

When a SAR mission arises from an incident at sea or in the air, the Halifax SRR commander works through JRCC Halifax to task Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Coast Guard units and volunteer SAR organizations in the Halifax SRR to deliver the appropriate response.

When a SAR mission must be conducted on land or in the inland waters of the Halifax SRR, except in National Parks, which are federal lands administered by Parks Canada, primary responsibility lies with the government of the province or territory where the incident took place, which delegates the authority to initiate SAR operations to the police service with jurisdiction. In most parts of the Halifax SRR, the police force with jurisdiction is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Sûreté du Québec has jurisdiction in the Province of Quebec, and most cities, towns and regional municipalities have municipal police services.

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