A new individual tax credit for Search and Rescue organizations proposed by the federal government during Tuesday's budget speech is a step in the right direction.
That according to Stan Wieczorek, search manager/treasurer of Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR).
In Tuesday's budget speech, the government pledged to "Creating a new Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit, to recognize the important role played by search and rescue volunteers who put themselves at risk while contributing to the safety and security of Canadians."
Wieczorek says the tax credit, similar to one afforded to volunteer firefighters, is something search and rescue groups have been fighting to obtain.
He says search and rescue volunteers must purchase personal equipment out of their own pocket and this tax credit will help to soften that blow.
"It means we will be able to retain more volunteers who buy a lot of their gear with their own money," says Wieczorek.
Personally, Wieczorek says he owns, for example, several pairs of hiking boots for all different types of conditions.
Volunteers also purchase pants, flashlights and other gear needed for rescues.
He says the $450 a year tax credit will go a long way to softening that blow.
Search and Rescue volunteer organizations typically rely on donations and grants to fund their operations.
They do not charge for rescues.