Transport Canada Overhauls Itself

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Transport Canada is in the middle of a transformation that includes using a risk-based process to ensure its resources, which have been under pressure, best meet safety needs.

Its new Safety Risk Assessment system regularly examines “what we have learned from accidents, oversight, industry evolution, international developments, emerging technologies, etc.” and cross references that to the regulator’s “past interventions to identify what more, if anything, we as a regulator should be doing to drive the incidents and accidents down,” says Robert Sincennes, Transport Canada director, civil aviation, standards branch.

One step was conducting risk identification exercises at the program level, which identified four areas (approach and landing, unmanned aircraft systems, loss of control inflight, human factors).

The next step is launching a new surveillance plan around April 1 that will also be risk based, said Sincennes, speaking at the Aeronautical Repair Station Association’s Annual Symposium on March 15. The new model will be more processed based and focus on specific activities, based on risk—instead of monitoring many things “all the time.”

Other major Transport Canada transformation pillars underway include overhauling the air operator certificate program, modernizing the Canadian Aviation Regulations and updating fees. Sincennes says updating the Canadian Aviation Regulations is a five-year project focused on modernizing the rules, “cleaning them up as much as possible,” and taking into account new technologies.

Some of its internal activities associated with the transformation including things like employee training, developing better tools and guidance materials, updating IT systems to move away from paper and better communications.

Transport Canada’s average inspector age is above 50 years old and its attrition-recruitment rate is more than 25% over the last three years. “We expect that same rate to follow for several more,” says Sincennes. So the internal transformation is equally important.