Members of the Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary participate in search and rescue training in the fall of 2019. The federal government is financing the purchase of two new vessels and equipment for two auxiliary units in the Nisga’a and Ahousaht Nations. (Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary photo)

Members of the Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary participate in search and rescue training in the fall of 2019. The federal government is financing the purchase of two new vessels and equipment for two auxiliary units in the Nisga’a and Ahousaht Nations. (Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary photo)

Two B.C. Indigenous Coast Guard auxiliary units receive big financial boost

Federal government invests $525,000 for search and rescue vessels and equipment

Two B.C. First Nations are sharing a half-million dollars in federal funding to boost the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary’s response capacity for maritime emergencies.

Under the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program, the Nisga’a Nation in Northwest B.C. and Ahousaht Nation on the west coast of Vancouver Island will receive $312, 815 and $214,156 respectively to purchase response vessels and related equipment. The vessels, which meet the rigorous standards of the Coast Guard and Transport Canada, will be used to improve the safety of all mariners in the vicinity.

“This program has provided funding to develop a training plan to lay the foundation and strive [toward] sustainable prosperity and self reliance for the long term, with a purpose to protect both mariners and citizens traveling throughout the northwest coast of B.C.,” Anthony Moore, the emergency response services manager for the Nisga’a Lisims Government said.

READ MORE: Coast Guard rescue stranded boaters from island

Both the Nisga’a and Ahousaht Nations are among five members of the Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary (CN-CGA), Canada’s first Indigenous-led auxiliary outfit.

Moore said the pandemic has slowed the Nisga’a Nation’s procurement of its vessel, but the importance of its arrival and the activation of the CN-CGA unit is underscored by the full scope of past emergencies in the area, including engine failures, vessels in distress, capsizing, fishing vessel accidents, maritime accidents due to drugs and alcohol, injuries due to unseaworthiness of vessels and medical distress of crew.

“To be able to have a dedicated purpose-built vessel ready to respond to any marine emergency has allowed us to build our capacity and capabilities as a member of the CN-CGA,” Moore said.

The three-year boat-funding program, launched in 2017, is part of the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan, aimed at strengthening marine safety systems, promoting responsible shipping, protecting Canada’s marine environment and offering new opportunities for Indigenous and coastal communities. The plan is billed as the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways.

READ MORE: Coast Guard calling for radio officers

Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan, said it’s important to include First Nations in that plan with the pilot program.

“Indigenous coastal communities have been stewards of the environment including oceans and shores for generations, and are unquestionably vital to Canada’s marine safety system today. The program provides necessary funding and equipment to support their efforts.”

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary is a national non-profit organization of 4,000 volunteer members with access to 1,100 vessels that boost the Government of Canada’s maritime search and rescue response capacity. The Canadian Coast Guard funds the auxiliary through a contribution program totaling $7.7 million each year.

The auxiliary responds to approximately 25 per cent of maritime calls for assistance each year.



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Canadian Coast Guard

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sharon McNeill (right) was among the first batch of residents to pick up free seeds and seedlings from Ali Rivers, Central Saanich’s climate action specialist, during Thursday’s Seed Giveaway. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Central Saanich plants seeds in the fight against climate change

Seed Giveaway promotes environmental stewardship

This rendering shows the proposed warehouse for lands under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority near a Sidney residential neighbourhood. (York Reality/Submitted).
Chamber of Commerce promises Sidney warehouse proposal will deliver jobs

Nearby resident said project’s benefits will be short-lived

Habitat Acquisition Trust has received provincial funding to help restore Garry oak ecosystems on southern Vancouver Island. (Photo by Jeremy da Silva)
Central Saanich park among sites for local Garry oak restoration projects

Habitat Acquisition Trust received $140,000 in funding for 12 projects

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The postponement of the event was put in place to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Jasmine Francoeur from Comox is an aviation technician for the Snowbirds air demonstration team. Photo by Canadian Forces/submitted
Island woman’s career comes full circle as she flies home with the Snowbirds

Jasmine Francoeur: “To fly out here, fly into my hometown, it’s very special and I feel very lucky”

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Leaked report shows detailed B.C. COVID-19 data not being released to public

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Most Read