The cash strapped Avalanche Canada, responsible for a massive amount of terrain but given minimal funding compared to its European counterparts, has received a major economic grant from the federal government.
Premier Trudeau lost his younger brother Michel Charles-Émile Trudeau, in an avalanche in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park back in November of 1998. Prior to stepping down when he was running for a federal Liberal nomination in Montreal in the winter of 2007, Trudeau was a director on the Canadian Avalanche Foundation. The Premier has been vocal in the past about the importance of avalanche awareness.
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau presented his economic fall statement yesterday, November 21, in Ottawa. It included a one-time endowment of $25 million to Avalanche Canada.
Mary Clayton, Communications Director for Avalanche Canada, sent the following media release.
“We are very grateful for this funding, and especially for the recognition that public avalanche safety is worthy of support,” said Gilles Valade, Executive Director of Avalanche Canada. “The federal government has made a significant commitment to this cause. We hope the provinces involved in avalanche safety are able to follow this lead.”
Winter backcountry use in Canada continues to grow with no sign of slowing down. Despite the massive increase in use, the average number of avalanche fatalities in Canada has declined and stabilized over the past 14 years. Avalanche Canada’s programs and services provide an invaluable “safety net” for winter tourism in mountainous regions.
Avalanche Canada is non-profit and non-government; it was established in 2004 to be the national public avalanche safety organization.
· Provides daily public avalanche forecasts for many of the mountainous regions of western Canada. In terms of area, this is the largest avalanche forecasting program in the world by far.
· Develops and coordinates public avalanche safety education.
· Delivers youth awareness and training seminars.
· Creates and delivers avalanche safety programs for specific user groups.
· Contributes to snow safety research.
“Avalanche Canada has world-leading programs and we are pleased that we are now starting to be funded as world leaders,” adds Valade. “We are grateful to Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government for leading the way. We look forward to working with the provinces to ensure this funding announcement is the beginning of long-term sustainability for public avalanche safety.”