Gateway Gazette

Harper Government Announces Increased Funding to Improve Avalanche Safety

Parks Canada increases funding to Avalanche Canada and affirms Canada’s position as a world leader in avalanche education, awareness and safety

Banff, Alberta – The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced increased Parks Canada support and funding for Avalanche Canada (formerly known as the Canadian Avalanche Centre). The renewed contribution agreement provides a total of $600,000 over four years.

This funding will support the overall Avalanche Canada program, including delivering youth-focussed avalanche safety training (Avi-Smart program) to communities in and adjacent to Canada’s mountain national parks on behalf of Parks Canada. This four-year commitment will help backcountry users of various skill levels understand the risks involved when they undertake backcountry activities in winter and it will provide information, training and tools to minimize those risks.

The Government of Canada is proud to work with Avalanche Canada and was instrumental in its creation, working closely with them since its inception on avalanche safety initiatives. Today’s announcement of Parks Canada funding builds on Environment Canada’s continued contribution of $225,000 over three years to Avalanche Canada that was announced earlier this year.

Parks Canada supports the National Conservation Plan and is committed to connecting Canadians to nature in a safe manner with an emphasis on the importance of backcountry avalanche safety. Parks Canada understands that avalanche safety does not end at the park boundary and, with Avalanche Canada, strives to educate and provide consistent services for backcountry users regardless of where they choose to recreate.

Quick Facts

• Parks Canada was a founding partner in the formation of Avalanche Canada and has supported its public avalanche prevention programs since its incorporation in 2004.

• In the past decade, Parks Canada and Avalanche Canada collaborated on the development of an easy to understand, icon-based public warning system, now an international standard used around the world. Parks Canada and the Avalanche Canada have also collaborated on the Avaluator, a science-based decision-making tool for travel in avalanche terrain.

• In 2006, Parks Canada developed school outreach programs targeting students living in mountain communities where avalanche safety needs to be a regular part of life. Avalanche Canada delivers the Parks Canada Avi-Smart program for youth as part of its Youth Education Initiative. This program reaches approximately 1,500 students a year.

Quotes

“Our Government is pleased to announce increased assistance and funding that will support the Avalanche Canada programming, including delivering youth-focussed avalanche safety training through the Avi Smart program to communities in and adjacent to Canada’s mountain national parks. Through initiatives like this with Avalanche Canada and emphasizing the importance of backcountry avalanche safety, we are contributing to the National Conservation Plan by encouraging partnerships that lead to tangible results and helping Canadians connect with nature.”

~ Blake Richards, Member of Parliament for Wild Rose

“Parks Canada has long been a leader in public avalanche safety. We are honoured by their support and partnership, and we are very pleased to be able to celebrate today’s announcement.”

~ Gilles Valade, Executive Director, Avalanche Canada

(Parks Canada)

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