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Avalanche Canada receives $25 million windfall from federal gov’t

Click to play video 'Avalanche season: Backcountry safety during winter months' Avalanche season: Backcountry safety during winter months
Mike Danks of North Shore Rescue talked to Global News in 2016 about what kind of equipment to take if you're venturing into the backcountry – Dec 6, 2016

If you’re a winter backcountry enthusiast, the federal government delivered good news on Wednesday.

In Ottawa, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that Avalanche Canada will be receiving a one-time endowment of $25 million to promote avalanche safety. The news came during Morneau’s fall economic statement.

READ MORE: Skier taken to hospital after being caught in avalanche, dragged in Banff National Park

“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.”

According to Avalanche Canada, which is based in Revelstoke, B.C., winter backcountry use continues to grow with no sign of slowing down.

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WATCH BELOW: Michael Heuchert of MEC Calgary discussed with Global News in 2017 how to use avalanche safety gear.

Click to play video 'Avalanche safety gear for backcountry enthusiasts' Avalanche safety gear for backcountry enthusiasts
Avalanche safety gear for backcountry enthusiasts – Feb 11, 2017

In an email, Avalanche Canada said “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.”

READ MORE: Recent heavy snowfall prompts avalanche warning for Kananaskis Country

Avalanche Canada is a non-profit and non-government organization that was established in 2004. Its goal is to educate the public about avalanche awareness and broadcasts daily forecasts throughout the winter for much of the mountainous regions of western Canada.

Valade added that Avalanche Canada is looking forward “to working with the provinces to ensure this funding announcement is the beginning of long-term sustainability for public avalanche safety.”

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Avalanche Canada says it will release its first avalanche forecast for the season on Friday.

Avalanche Canada also has an online booklet that can be viewed here.

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