Many coordinators and unit leaders emphasized that the accounting and administration burden on SAR organizations is a major contributor to leadership burnout. Facilitating training opportunities, organizing fundraising events (usually bingos), preparing after-action reports, and completing all of the legal paperwork required for non-profit society status is onerous and time consuming.
NEM provides financial support to assist GSAR teams and SAR Committees with the annual costs associated with maintaining readiness and fundraising activities for their organization (a one-time start-up of $1000.00 and an ongoing support payment up to $1000.00 annually) (Community and Government Services, 2017). To receive this funding, however, NEM must receive proof from Nunavut’s Legal Registries that the community SAR organization is registered as a non-profit society and has provided annual financial statements. The organization must also provide a detailed budget outlining anticipated expenditures and revenues, as well as a schedule of activities for the year. It can be difficult for community SAR organizations to maintain their good standing with the Territory’s Registrar of Societies because they struggle to meet the reporting requirements set by the Government of Nunavut. This, in turn, makes them ineligible for government funding.
Administrative demands are intense during and particularly after a search: summarizing expenditures with supporting receipts, reporting on the status of equipment provided by NEM and damages to any personal equipment, and completing all of the actual search paperwork. The full involvement of the hamlet office in community SAR organizations can alleviate some of this administrative burden, but this support is not readily available in several Kitikmeot communities.
Suggestions and Solutions
- The Government of Nunavut’s Fire Chiefs Stipend Contribution Policy provides a small stipend as financial incentive to Nunavut fire chiefs that produce monthly fire reports. For each monthly report submitted, a fire chief could receive up to $100, subject to the availability of funds. Contributions are allocated as lump sums to each Hamlet and Municipality for distribution. A similar SAR Coordinator Stipend Contributions Policy should be created.
- People with strong administrative skills should be recruited into SAR teams.
- A new course should be developed for members of the SAR Committee who do not engage in searches, but remain in the community to support families and to perform administrative tasks.
- Nunavut Emergency Management (for GSAR) and Canadian Coast Guard (for Auxiliary units) should have dedicated personnel who can regularly visit each community to assist with administration, organization, and logistics.