Update on the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) program

There have been some recent developments with the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) program in Canada.

First, a bit of background. There are four levels of ARES organization: National, Section, District and Local. Sections are geographically-based administrative units organized to deliver RAC services to non-government organizations and governments through the ARES program.

The senior RAC official in each Section is the Section Manager (SM). The SM appoints a Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) for the Section. The SEC, in turn, appoints District Emergency Coordinators (DEC) for each region. DECs, in turn, appoint Emergency Coordinators for each city in their District.

The ARRL and RAC both have Sections and – as in the case of some other administrative structures that RAC inherited from the ARRL as a result of our shared history – the functions of our Sections have changed over the years to meet our particular circumstances.

In 2012, RAC divided the previous Ontario Section into four distinct Sections because the province was too large for one SM to manage. As a result the Ontario North, Ontario East, Ontario GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and Ontario South Sections were born.

Recently, ARES groups in the City of Hamilton and in the Regional Municipality of Niagara indicated that it would be beneficial for them to move from the Ontario South Section into the Ontario GTA Section.

Niagara and Hamilton are located on the west and southwest borders of the GTA Section and both groups have a history of working with the GTA teams on Simulated Emergency Tests (SETs) and many public service events. As a result, the border between the Ontario South and Greater Toronto Area Sections is being moved to better reflect operational needs within ARES and its served agencies.

Effective April 1, Amateurs in the City of Hamilton and in the Regional Municipality of Niagara will from then on be in the Greater Toronto Area Section, not the Ontario South section as before.

In addition, RAC members in Prince Edward Island have been working for some time to create a separate section for RAC ARES activities in their province. I am happy to report that their work has been successful and we are now seeking a Section Manager, a key step in establishing the new PE Section (see page 58 of the January-February 2020 TCA). Once elected, the new SM will start a two-year term on April 1, 2020.

In the future, the Maritimes Section that had earlier coordinated the ARES activities in the three Maritime provinces will continue to be responsible for the activities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and the new PE Section will deal with the activities on Prince Edward Island. We look forward to reading about the new PE Section in the Public Service / ARES column and in the Section News in upcoming issues of TCA.

Additional information will be posted at the following link when it is available: https://www.rac.ca/ares-sections/

Glenn MacDonell, VE3XRA
RAC President and Chair
Radio Amateurs of Canada