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