CARDA Structure

A register of all CARDA teams is maintained by the secretary (registrar) of CARDA. This register consists of the validation (testing) history and current validation status of the handler/dog team together with the most recent address and contact numbers for the handler. CARDA members and the RCMP PDS Supervisor may access the register through the secretary at any time however this register shall not otherwise be circulated generally.

A separate list containing only currently validated teams is circulated to all concerned agencies as required but contains no team history and does not list teams in training.


(Dog handler has never had an RCMP, PEP or CARDA avalanche rescue dog team validation)

Handler Prerequisite: Strong intermediate skier with touring experience. CAA level I, PEP member (B.C. residents only), active in winter mountain rescue, current CPR and first aid. Must attend spring assessment course and be recommended to advance to winter program.

Dog prerequisite: Between 6 months and 24 months of age. Parvo, distemper plus boosters complete. Suitable breed - as determined by Chief of Course - Spring Training Course.

Valid period: 18 months.


Handler Prerequisite: Potential Team in Training or previously validated handler with a new dog.

Dog prerequisite: 12 months of age. Parvo, distemper plus boosters complete, Potential Team in Training or handler previously validated.

Valid period: 12 months.


Handler prerequisite: Team in Training for one year and/or previously validated handler with a new dog.

Dog prerequisite: Team in training for one year and/or previous validation.

Valid period: 12 months.


Senior Avalanche Rescue Dog Team is a title granted upon validation or re-validation of a team that demonstrates advanced capability in a complex search scenario and the handler has a proven expertise in all facets of avalanche search and rescue.

Handler prerequisite: Previously validated handler.

Dog prerequisite: Team in Training or Avalanche Rescue Dog Team.

Valid period: 12 months.


Only teams with current validation are considered operational and appear on the list circulated by the registrar to concerned agencies.

Initial validation of Avalanche Rescue Dog Teams: Dogs and handlers new to the program, must successfully complete two winter training courses prior to validation.

Validation of new dogs: A formerly validated handler with a new dog may be validated after successfully completing one winter training course.

Maintaining validation: Avalanche Rescue Dog Teams and Senior Avalanche Rescue Dog Teams must pass a re-validation test within 12 months of the date of their previous validation test and attend a winter training course at least every second year.

Variance requests

The executive of CARDA in consultation with the RCMP PDS may permit a variance to the rules concerning validation and re-validation. Such approval shall ultimately reflect the best interests of the avalanche victim.