About Us

CARES Niagara provides volunteer air and ground search and rescue services primarily throughout Southwestern Ontario, but can be deployed anywhere in Ontario and Quebec as required. First incorporated in 1977 as a not-for-profit entity, CARES Niagara is one of the founding members of the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) and today is one of several units across Ontario and Canada. CARES and CASARA`s mission is to support aviation safety and assist in to support Canada`s Search and Rescue (SAR) program. CARES Niagara volunteer members are trained to a high level of competency for both airborne and ground based search and rescue operations. CARES members are ready and available to respond to calls for help 24 hours a day 7 days a week and play a vital role in Canada's Search and Rescue program.

Currently CARES Niagara operates out of our main base at the Niagara District Airport (CYSN). CARES maintains its headquarters building at the airport which contains training classrooms, equipment, as well as a radio communications tower. Members meet at the airport for weekly training and our building is always ready to serve as Search Headquarters for any active searches as needed. CARES also operates a satellite base out of the Brampton-Caledon Airport (CNC3) to allow quick responses for emergencies in the GTA.

CARES members are primarily tasked on Search and Rescue Missions by the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC), located at CFB Trenton. In this regard, we can launch our own search based upon the nature of the emergency which may include air crew and our aircraft, ground crew and support vehicles, or more typically both. CARES Niagara is capable of operating SAR missions as a completely self sufficient entity, or working with other CASARA SAR partners and search and rescue agencies, such as but not limited to the Royal Canadian Air Force, Canadian Coast Guard and Coast Guard Axillaries and provincial and local Police and Fire Departments. CARES members can also be called upon to supplement military crews on military aircraft (C-130 Hercules, CH-146 Griffon) from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron based at Trenton.

CASARA Training

CARES members train in classroom on Thursday evenings from September to June, and once a month with Search and Rescue Exercises (SARex) on weekends. SARexs let CARES members practice their practical skills both on the ground and in the air. Additionally, CARES members participate in a number of multi agency SARexs annually throughout the year, as well as provide crews to supplement military SAR training for 424 Squadron on an as needed basis.

CARES Niagara members train to meet or exceeded standards set by CASARA National and the RCAF. Once every two years CARES is evaluated to be operational on both administrative and practical skills by a team consisting of both RCAF and CASARA Provincial members to ensure that CARES is ready and able to respond to calls for help whenever required.

As well as our standard training many CARES members participate in specialised training as required including Search and Rescue Coordination, First Aid, Emergency aircraft water egress, wilderness survival and various other training courses as offered.



To express interest in joining CARES follow the link below to the CASARA Ontario website and fill out the "Apply Here" form at the bottom of the page. You will recieve an email from our zone president, and be placed on our list for an interview and recruitment orientation session.

CARES members fill many important roles within SAR operations. Typically, if successful at the interview stage, new recruits begin training towards ground search specialist certification. This training teaches the knowledge required to successfuly track to an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) signal, preform basic rescue opperations and teaches skills required to move into air opperations positions as they become avliable such as Search and Rescue Spotter, Navigator or Pilot.

Due to the current global COVID-19 pandemic CARES Niagara has currently suspended intake of new members. However if you have a passion for helping others, an interest in promoting aviation safety and working with a dedicated group of like minded individuals in your community, CARES Niagara wants to hear from you! No prior aviation experiance is required, although it can be an asset.

We would be happy to answer any questions you may have. To submit your application, click here.

Our Equipment

CARES Niagara currently operates two aircraft and one ground support vehicle with other assets available as needed. All assets are maintained in a constant state of readiness and are available to respond to calls for help 24 hours a day Seven days a week 365 days a year.


Based at our CYSN base the Cessna Super Skymaster is a twin engine all weather search platform. Capable of carrying a crew of 4 the Skymaster offers the ability to search over land and water and is equipped with both aviation and marine radios used during joint operations with our Coast Guard partners. Producing a combined 410 horsepower the Skymaster is able to search for over four hours before needing to return for fuel.


Based at our Brampton Satellite base the Cessna 182 is used as a day and night search platform. Capable of carrying a crew of four the Cessna 182 is equipped with radio equipment specially designed to electronically track Emergency Locator Beacon signals. Producing 230 horsepower the Cessna 182 is able to search for over 5 hours before needing to return for fuel.



Based at our St Catharines base and equipped with both air and marine radios as well as a mobile radio antenna mast the CARES mobile command vehicle is fully equipped to act as a mobile command center during search and rescue missions. The Mobile Command Vehicle is also able to track emergency beacons with onboard equipment and is fully stocked with first aid tools and equipment that might be required to effect a rescue on the ground


Contact Us

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CARES Niagara
468 Niagara Stone Rd. Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
L0S 1J0

Phone Number:
+1 (905) 684-0408