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  1. Definition Search and Rescue (SAR) is defined as the combined activities and tasks involved in both searching for and rescuing persons who are feared to be in distress. Many searches do not involve rescue and many rescues do not require searches.

  2. National SAR Program • Shared Responsibility • Horizontal Program • Lead Minister for SAR (LMSAR) • Public Safety Canada • National SAR Secretariat (NSS) • Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC) • Department of National Defence/Canadian Forces (DND/CF) • Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) • Parks Canada • Provinces, Territories & Municipalities • GSAR Volunteers

  3. National SAR Program

  4. SAR Domains Aeronautical Military

  5. SAR Domains Aeronautical Civil Air Search and Rescue Association

  6. SAR Domains Maritime Canadian Coast Guard

  7. SAR Domains Maritime Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary

  8. SAR Domains Ground and Inland Waters

  9. SAR Regions

  10. SAR in Ontario Ontario Provincial Police

  11. SAR in Ontario Municipal Police Services

  12. SAR in Ontario Parks Canada Visitor Safety

  13. SAR in Ontario Canadian Forces

  14. SAR in Ontario Canadian Coast Guard & Canadian Coast Guard Auxililary

  15. SAR in Ontario GSAR Volunteers

  16. Questions

  17. Legal Requirements Objectives • Health and safety legislation and policies • Duties of workers and supervisors • Legal duties and obligations of a team leader • SAR organization policies and procedures • Reporting unsafe conditions • Safety priorities (use of safety equipment) • Unsafe behavior (awareness, identification, mitigating & reporting)

  18. Legal Requirements Objectives – Legal Requirements (cont’d) • Legal and civil/human rights • Concepts of being a witness • Privacy legislation • Freedom of information • Identification and credentials • Policies or requirments for records checks

  19. Team Leader Awareness • A team leader must be aware of • Variety of federal and/or provincial legislation • The policies of the lead jurisdictional agency • Volunteer GSAR organization

  20. Team Leader Awareness • Team leaders must be aware of the importance of protecting the health and safety of team members • Workers in Ontario are familiar with the concepts and requirements of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) • However OHSA does not apply to volunteers

  21. Team Leader Awareness • Some or all sections of the Act, such as the right to refuse unsafe work, also DO NOT apply to most lead agencies • This includes the police, fire departments, Coast Guard, military SAR teams and EMS • Volunteers working with these organizations should be aware that such organizations have their own specific legislation, policies and procedures regarding their work

  22. Team Leader Awareness • Actions of SAR team leaders may however be subject to other legislation • Criminal Code of Canada Section 217.1 regarding the “Duty of Persons Directing Work”, which states: “Everyone who undertakes, or has the authority to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task.”

  23. Team Leader Awareness • One way to comply or mitigate this obligation of team leaders is to ensure that their actions are taken in accordance with known and accepted standards of care • Therefore the basic principles of the Occupational Health and Safety Act should be followed

  24. Team Leader Awareness • The right to participate – everyone should be encouraged to be part of the process of identifying and resolving health and safety concerns • The right to know - team members have the right to know about any potential hazards to which they may be exposed • The right to refuse work - all team leaders/members have the right to refuse work they believe is dangerous to either their own health and safety or that of another person • The right to stop work - during SAR activities, certain individuals may stop or order an activity be modified

  25. Team Leader Awareness • Team leaders may be held responsible for breaches of legal and civil rights • This includes policies for human rights and respectful workplaces • Which does include volunteer SAR organizations

  26. Human Rights The Ontario Human Rights Code states • Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination • Every person has a right to freedom from harassment • Harassment means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome • No person shall infringe or do, directly or indirectly, anything that infringes a right

  27. Human Rights • Harassment or other violations of the Human Rights Code must not be tolerated • Any actions by a SAR member or against a member, which violate the Human Rights Code, must be reported • Failures to follow the requirments may result in an inquiry by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario • Civil action against the individuals and organization may also occur

  28. Legal Requirements • SAR activities may be subject to civil action, criminal investigation and other formal inquiries • Ensure that all activities are documented • Team leaders and members must be aware of the importance of evidence protection • Notes and documentation of actions must be done in a consistent and competent manner

  29. Freedom Of Information • Team leaders must protect the privacy of personal information • Neither the Personal Health Information Protection Act nor the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act apply to volunteer SAR records • They do however apply to the police and to other sources of information (schools, old age homes, group homes) • Be aware that information you provided may be subject to Ontario’s Freedom of Information (FOI)

  30. Freedom Of Information • Information collected as part of a SAR activity may be considered subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act • Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act “personal information” means almost everything about an individual • Prior to releasing any information which may be considered private, protected or potentially protected, permission and approval for release must be given

  31. Identification Requirements • Ensure that team members are following the organization’s policies regarding identification, uniforms and credentials • All SAR participants should be carrying at a minimum, identification such as a driver license their health card and their OSARVA ID Card • Ensure that licenses when/where required are held by the person(s) assigned to the task (driving, radios, boat operator’s card)

  32. Criminal Records Check • Team leaders must be aware of the requirement of their organizations for policies such as criminal record checks (CRC) • OPP require annual CRC (some organizations also require vulnerable person check) • Team leaders should ensure that team members are up to date

  33. Questions

  34. Liability Protection and Worker’s Compensation Objectives • Liability and liability protection • SAR or Emergency Worker Legislation • Good Samaritan Act (Ontario) • Workers Compensation • Municipal or Private coverage • Documenting issues or claims

  35. Liability Protection and Worker’s Compensation • SAR activities may place a team leader or member at risk of injury or legal action • There is legislation and insurance which may offer liability protection and/or compensation for injuries • Team leaders should have an understanding of liability, protection and compensation in order to advise their team members • Recognize and provide notification within their chain of command of any issues encountered

  36. Liability Protection and Worker’s Compensation • Team leaders should be aware that no Ontario legislation defines negligence or offers protection in relationship to volunteers and their actions during SAR activities • A team leader should be aware of what constitutes legal negligence and liability in the context of SAR activities • Training, knowledge and the use of appropriate and documented SAR techniques provides a due diligence defense to accusations or legal proceedings of negligence

  37. Legal Terms • Liability- means legal responsibility for one's actions • Negligence - failure to exercise the care toward others which a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances, or taking action which such a reasonable person would not • Proximate cause- the immediate reason damage was caused by an act or omission • Due diligence - Reasonable verifications and precautions taken to identify or prevent foreseeable risks

  38. Defining Negligence • Did a duty to rescue exists • One or more standards of care are breached • Actual injuries are suffered • Negligence is the proximate cause of the injuries • Plaintiff's position is not prejudiced • Delay in initiating a search • Negligence in the conduct of the search • Ineffective use of resources to conduct search • Negligent termination of the search

  39. Legal Liability and Ontario’s Good Samaritan Act Legal Liability and Ontario’s Good Samaritan Act • In general there is no legal obligation for a member of the public to help someone in an emergency • Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act does require drivers of motor vehicles who are involved in accidents to "render all possible assistance” to those injured • Ontario’s Good Samaritan Act applies to individuals who may find themselves in an emergency first aid situation and offers legal protection to those persons acting in good faith who render assistance

  40. Ontario’s Good Samaritan Act (short version) “A person who voluntarily and without reasonable expectation of compensation or reward who provides emergency first aid assistance to a person who is ill, injured or unconscious as a result of an accident or other emergency, if the individual provides the assistance at the immediate scene of the accident or emergency, is not liable for damages that result from the person’s negligence in acting or failing to act while providing the services, unless it is established that the damages were caused by gross negligence of the person.”

  41. Definition – Gross Negligence • Very great negligence • A marked departure from the applicable standard of care • Positive or affirmative negligence rather than passive negligence • Conduct so arbitrary it reflects complete disregard for the consequences

  42. Definition – Standard of Care (Cleary v. Hansen) It reads, in part “Even during an attempt to assist someone in an emergency, the law expects reasonable care to be exercised, even though the standard is relaxed to a certain extent. The court does not expect perfection, but rescuers must be sensible. They, like anyone else, must weigh the advantages and the risks of their conduct. Their conduct, too, however laudable, must measure up to the standard of the reasonable person in similar circumstances.”

  43. Standard of Care • SAR personnel, due to their training and experience, should therefore strive to ensure that they meet and exceed this basic standard of care • SAR responders are also expected to act in accordance with their level of training, knowledge and skills • The basic principles of first aid should always be followed

  44. Standard of Care • Organizations such as Red Cross and St. John Ambulance have general liability insurance coverage for persons who have one of their current first aid certificates • Coverage is typically limited where and when the actions and treatment given were in accordance with the level and aid methods of the training received • Stay within your level of training, knowledge and competency

  45. Worker’s Compensation Coverage • SAR members may qualify for assistance by the Workers Compensation Insurance Board (WSIB) if injured during a SAR mission if they are working at the request and under • Amember of the Ontario Provincial Police • In connection with an emergency that has been declared by the Lieutenant Governor or the Premier • In connection with an emergency that has been declared by the Head of a municipal council (Mayor/Reeve)

  46. Worker’s Compensation Coverage • Coverage is provided when assisting the Ontario Provincial Police as part of a SAR operation under their direction (as documented in OSARVA/OPP MOU) • The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act states in section 71(2) “The Crown shall be deemed to be the employer of a person who assists in a search and rescue operation at the request of and under the direction of a member of the Ontario Provincial Police.” NOTE This does include work performed under the direction of municipal or reserve police departments

  47. Worker’s Compensation Coverage • Notification and reporting of an injury is not required under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, as volunteers are not considers workers under that act • However all injuries must be reported and documented, as soon as possible, within the chain of command during a SAR activity and in accordance with the team member’s SAR organization’s policies and that of the lead agency • Remember WSIB coverage may apply • Team leaders should be aware that WSIB is a no-fault system

  48. Worker’s Compensation Coverage • To file a claim with WSIB, the SAR member must meet the definition of “worker” under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, when the accident or cause of the issue occurred and/or • They were injured in an accident or • They developed medical problems that they believe were related to the work performed • To receive WSIB benefits, a member must file a claim as soon as possible (within 6 months of the injury or become aware of the issue) • Reports can be submitted to the employer, the doctor (or other health professional), or WSIB

  49. Insurance (SAR) • Private insurance coverage for equipment and personnel is available through Algoma Insurance Brokers Limited • They have a lot of experience (since 1999) and have created a National Insurance Program to SARVAC and its membership

  50. General Coverage Includes • Liability - $5,000,000. • Accidental death and dismemberment - $100,000 per volunteer • Owned/non-owned watercraft • Non-owned/unlicensed motorized vehicles (ATVs, Snowmobile, etc.) NOTE Coverage of non-owned vehicles/watercraft requires a written agreement between the owner and the SAR organization (prior to use)