The Field Services Organization of

                        the Radio Amateurs of Canada Inc.

                                 “A valuable Community Resource!”


           Mandate and Terms of Reference for the

         RAC FS National Training Resource Group  

(Please note that the masculine form is being used throughout this document because there are no female volunteers in the Group.  The fairer sex is not being ignored or slighted.)         

BACKGROUND:  Beginning in January 2006, the Vice President for Field Services, in concert with FS volunteers, undertook an examination, from the bottom up, of the FS in accordance with the RAC commitment to increased support of the FS without crossing the line into “micro management”.  

Participants in that study, which was intended to encompass the complete FS, put most of their emphasis and focus on the Amateur Radio Emergency Service/National Traffic System (ARES/NTS) sponsored by the RAC.  

One of the main issues identified as requiring attention is a need for ARES/NTS training and RAC support for that training.  It was determined that several pertinent training matters need to be investigated and that a FS group should be formed to address those matters.  

Subsequently, a call went out to the Amateur Radio community, asking for competent and dedicated volunteers, who have experience in devising or presenting training and who possess a sound knowledge of ARES/NTS operations, to step forward.  Those who believed they fit these criteria were invited to submit a brief background résumé and to indicate their willingness to be cooperative members of a team.  Many responses were received and invitations were issued to qualified respondents, resulting in the formation of the RAC Field Services National Training Resource Group, also known as the “NTRG” or “N-TRiG”.   

MANDATE:  The authorized assignment of the NTRG is to research, formulate and facilitate a comprehensive, consistent and uniform training strategy that is viable and realistic, which will serve as a standard procedure guide (or guides) for the ARES/NTS operations in Canada and thus support and improve that service while promoting it as a valuable community resource.  While the achieved strategy can not ignore the existing ARES/NTS framework established in Canada and the USA, it must be a broad, living model that can and will evolve over time, providing not only written resource guides but actual training material.   

TERMS OF REFERENCE:  In order to act successfully on this mandate, it is advisable that the NTRG be cognizant of the following general points.  This list should not be considered as exhaustive nor should it exclude other concerns, some of which will doubtless become known as the undertaking progresses.  The adage “There are no such things as bad ideas, only missed opportunities” should be heeded.  In fact, the final strategy of the Group might well result in a “Made in Canada ” ARES/NTS based upon the training adopted, provided it remains within the general framework common to the ARES/NTS in Canada and the USA .  

1)                 consider all and any documents resulting from NTRG deliberations as a “guide” rather than an “edict” or “directive” to ARES/NTS groups

2)                 identify candidates for a new FS position of “National Training Coordinator”

3)                 review existing ARES/NTS training manuals and similar documents to identify any need for revision/re-writing and implementation in ARES/NTS operations

4)                 consider updating the RAC Certified EC exam, as necessary

5)                 investigate methods of training presentation, including on-line (internet) and hard copy manuals

6)                 consider inclusion of training in the Incident Management System (IMS) for ARES operations

7)                 consider implementation of a “train the trainer” program for Sections

8)                 formulate a RAC Certified ARES Trainer exam (similar in form and style to the existing RAC Certified EC exam)

9)                 identify, research and acquire best training methods and ideas, including those which might be offered for download

10)             consider using and inviting suggestions from existing ARES/NTS groups (PEEL ARC ARES training manual is but one example)

11)             consider inclusion and integration of new technology being used or likely to be used by ARES units

12)             be aware of the job descriptions of the various RAC ARES positions when formulating training for them

13)             identify what our served agencies expect and need from the ARES/NTS and then determine what the ARES can readily provide

14)             investigate and consider inclusion of cross-training with served agencies and others (this might include training of ARES/NTS ops to operate equipment of the served agency)

15)             try to avoid attempts or temptation to re-invent the wheel or change for the sake of change itself

16)             attempt at all times to keep in mind the basic purpose and role of the ARES by reviewing the ARRL Public Safety Communication Manual which is embraced and used by the RAC FS

17)             be careful not to arbitrarily dismiss existing systems such as the NTS but instead attempt to fit it into today’s ARES needs; or present sound business reasons for not doing so

18)             where applicable, determine financial costs involved

19)             to paraphrase Star Trek, “dare to go where no man has gone before”, but don’t sever your life line when space walking

20)             be mindful of the fact that RAC is a bilingual organization, striving to provide support and service to Radio Amateurs across Canada in both official languages, including areas where French may be the predominate language. 


COMPOSITION, CHAIN OF INFORMATION, CONFIDENTIALITY, AUTONOMY:  The Group has a chairman and a number of other volunteer members.  The VPFS is an ex officio member.  The chairman comes from those Group volunteers who have indicated a willingness to take on that extra responsibility.  From that number the chairman is appointed by the VPFS.  Membership in RAC, although highly recommended and very desirable, is not required for membership in the Group.   

However, because he is acting in an appointed representative position on behalf of RAC’s Field Services, it is only reasonable that the chairman be a full RAC member in good standing, preferably for at least one full year prior to being appointed.  This is not inconsistent with other appointments within the RAC FS.  Therefore RAC membership is a requirement for the chair’s post.  The chairman also should be a Canadian Radio Amateur, licenced and residing in Canada .  

The chairman oversees Group deliberations in accordance with the stated mandate such as by chairing meetings, appointing sub-committees from within the Group itself and reporting directly to the RAC Vice President for Field Services in a timely manner, for example. It is his responsibility to ensure a cooperative and coherent structure within the Group, to maintain focus and encourage timely completion of delegated duties and responsibilities.  While it is expected that E-mail will be the primary means and a reflector has been set up for that purpose, he may choose whatever additional mode is convenient for the conduct of Group business.  

While it is expected that the Group, although structured, will be somewhat informal in operation, the provisions of Robert’s Rules of Order may be consulted and employed by the chairman at his sole direction.  However, the key should be cooperative consensus and a displayed willingness by all to be open minded and ready to shift paradigms when necessary.  It is expected that everyone will “buy in” to this ideal, as well as respect the views of other members.  It is further expected that each member of the Group will respect the confidentiality of Group deliberations so as not to compromise its integrity or possibly jeopardize its strategy.  Frankly, anyone who cannot meet these expectations or who otherwise is unable to conduct himself in a spirit of cooperation toward the common goal has no place in this Group.  Collegiality is respectfully requested and definitely expected.  

The chairman may implement such working conditions or take any reasonable action that he deems necessary for the overall benefit of the Group and its mandate.  

At the chairman’s discretion, persons from outside the Group who are believed to have information, expertise or other resources helpful in realizing the Group’s mandate, may be consulted in regard to Group deliberations, but that should only be to the extent their expertise relates to a particular issue at hand.  This may be particularly true in the case of a Group sub-committee seeking specific resource material when such is not readily available from within the Group.  

Completed training documents and recommendations arising from Group deliberations and presented to the VPFS by the chairman shall be those of the Group only.  In other words, the NTRG has complete autonomy, within its mandate and terms of reference, to consider any reasonable means at its disposal to fulfill that mandate.   

Interim progress reports will be submitted quarterly to the VPFS.  The final report of recommendations and completed training documents will be reviewed by the VPFS who may or may not seek further clarification, or put forward suggestions, before taking the Group’s final report to the Board.  In any event, it shall be the Group’s recommendations through consensus that form its report.  

TIMELINE:  The NTRG’s initial mandate shall continue to October 31, 2007, on which date it will expire, subject to renewal.  

August 18, 2006

R.D. (Bob) Cooke VE3BDB

Vice President for Field Services

Radio Amateurs of Canada Inc.


NTRG Members

The Group consists of Don Mackinnon VE4DJ (Chairman): Lance Peterson VA3LP, Eric Jacksch VE3XEJ, Bob Boyd VE3SV, Tim Smith VE3HCB, Jeff Dovyak VE4MBQ, Monte Simpson K2MLS, Glenn Killam VE3GNA, David Drinnan VE9FK, Forbes Purcell VE6FMP, Ian Snow VA3QT, Pierre Mainville VA3PM and Bob Cooke VE3BDB (ex officio).  Interestingly, the majority are members of RAC, a fact that can easily be confirmed through a Membership Check on the RAC website.







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