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North Shore Rescue sues Victoria group it claims is falsely raising funds on its behalf

Nick Eagland

North Shore Rescue. (Arlen Redekop/Postmedia Network/Files)

North Shore Rescue. (Arlen Redekop/Postmedia Network/Files)

North Shore Rescue is suing a Victoria society it claims has been deceiving the public by using the search-and-rescue team's name to raise funds.

The Search and Rescue Society of B.C. (SARBC) has engaged in a fundraising campaign that falsely purports to be raising money on behalf of NSR and other SAR teams, according to a notice of civil claim filed Monday by NSR.

"NSR has received complaints from members of the public who reside in Metro Vancouver, complaining about the manner in which the 'aggressive' telephone solicitation have occurred, wrongfully believing that these calls were made or authorized by NSR," according to the notice.

According to its website, SARBC was formed in 1983 "to help save lives by promoting the exchange of information, developing new search techniques, speeding up the search and analysis process and to show why planning information is so important."

SARBC did not respond to a request for comment early Wednesday. The association claims to be a non-profit NGO funded by corporate sponsors, services clubs, grants and public donations, which provides assistance to SAR groups, law enforcement agencies and families of missing people.

It is not a member of the B.C. Search and Rescue Association and is not a 100 per cent volunteer organization, according to the notice of civil claim.

NSR claims SARBC staff and contractors told members of the public in Metro Vancouver, the North Shore and "areas in which NSR has established good will through its community service" that they represent NSR and other SAR teams, saying the money raised would be used to help them.

NSR said it doesn't use telephone campaigns to solicit funds from the public, and claims that SARBC disrupted NSR's fundraising efforts by wrongfully diverting funds that would otherwise been sent to NSR. SARBC also harmed NSR's reputation through its "aggressive and misleading" campaign, according to the notice.

NSR is seeking damages arising from a loss of good will, an accounting of funds raised by SARBC while misrepresenting the purpose of the donated funds and the misappropriation of NSR's name.

It also seeks injunctions preventing SARBC from purporting to raise money on behalf of NSR and other bona fide SAR teams, preventing it from imitating NSR and other SAR teams and preventing it from calling itself an SAR team.

In a post to its Facebook page, NSR asks anyone who received a phone call asking for donations to support or on behalf of NSR to contact the team at nsr@northshorerescue.com.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

neagland@postmedia.com

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