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Kitikmeot Roundtable on Search and Rescue

January 31 – February 1, 2020

Peter Kikkert, Angulalik Pedersen, and P. Whitney Lackenbauer. Kitikmeot Roundtable on Search and Rescue – General Report and Findings. Report from a workshop hosted at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, 31 January – 1 February 2020. 68 pp.

Peter Kikkert, P. Whitney Lackenbauer, and Angulalik Pedersen. Kitikmeot Roundtable on Search and Rescue – Mass Rescue Table Top Exercise Report. Report from an exercise facilitated by the Canadian Coast Guard in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, 1 February 2020. 52 pp.

In the face of increased maritime, aeronautical, and terrestrial activity in Canada’s Arctic, effective community-based search and rescue (SAR) capabilities have never been more essential. The Kitikmeot Roundtable on Search and Rescue will bring together members of community-based organizations, academics, and representatives of federal and territorial agencies to discuss best practices, lessons learned, and future requirements for search and rescue in the Kitikmeot region. This roundtable will allow participants from the Kitikmeot region’s volunteer Ground SAR (GSAR) teams, Coast Guard Auxiliary units, CASARA volunteers, Canadian Ranger patrols, and the Gjoa Haven Guardians to share how they organize, coordinate, and conduct searches, with a focus on training and skills, response procedures, leadership, equipment, and inter-organization and inter-community cooperation.

Participants will also discuss SAR operations with representatives from the territorial and federal agencies involved (e.g. Emergency Management Nunavut, the Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces, and the Canadian Coast Guard), with a particular focus on how to best utilize community-based assets as force multipliers. Given the range of participants involved, the roundtable will provide an excellent opportunity to explore Mass Rescue Operations (MRO), sustainment packages, and lessons learned on SAR from other polar areas. Mass Rescue Operations Officers from the Coast Guard’s Arctic Region will facilitate a MRO tabletop exercise on the roundtable’s second day.

The idea for this roundtable came out of conversations that the organizers have had with members of the community-based organizations involved in SAR in the Kitikmeot. These individuals highlighted the need to: 1) share their knowledge with and learn from practitioners in other communities; and 2) share their experiences with and develop relationships with the territorial and federal agencies involved in SAR in Nunavut.

The main objective of this roundtable is to produce a list of lessons learned and best practices that can be disseminated to the organizations and agencies involved in SAR in the Kitikmeot, and to identify capability gaps that exist in communities and the region more broadly.

For more details, please contact the lead organizer, Peter Kikkert, at The co-organizers are Angulalik Pedersen and P. Whitney Lackenbauer.


Canadian High Arctic Research Station, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada