The Canadian Rangers: Strengthening Community Disaster Resilience in Canada’s Remote and Isolated Communities




Canadian Rangers, disaster resilience, emergency management, search and rescue, safety and security


The Canadian Rangers are Canadian Armed Forces Reservists who serve in remote, isolated, northern, and coastal communities. Due to their presence, capabilities, and the relationships they enjoy with(in) their communities, Rangers regularly support other government agencies in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from a broad spectrum of local emergency and disaster scenarios. Drawing upon government and media reports, focus groups, and interviews with serving members, and a broader literature review, this article explains and assesses, using a wide range of case studies from across Canada, how the Rangers strengthen the disaster resilience of their communities. Our findings also suggest ways to enhance the Rangers’ functional capabilities in light of climate and environmental changes that portend more frequent and severe emergencies and disasters. It also argues that the organization can serve as a model for how targeted government investment in a local volunteer force can build resilience in similar remote and isolated jurisdictions, particularly in Greenland and Alaska. 

Author Biographies

Peter Kikkert, St. Francis Xavier University

Irving Shipbuilding Chair in Arctic Policy, Brian Mulroney Institute of Government

P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Trent University

Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in the Study of the Canadian North





General Articles