There are several weaknesses in how Transport Canada has managed the transition to a new approach for overseeing air transportation safety, says the Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser, in her report tabled in the House of Commons.
Under the new approach—a requirement of the International Civil Aviation Organization for all member countries by 2009—aviation companies must have their own systems for managing safety risks. This means that like other civil aviation authorities, Transport Canada will shift its primary focus from traditional oversight such as conducting inspections and audits to assessing the safety systems that companies have in place.
The audit found that in the first stages of the transition, affecting 74 airlines and aircraft maintenance companies, the Department carried out pilot projects and made adjustments as needed. However, in planning the transition, it did not formally assess the risks involved in the change or forecast the overall costs of managing it. Nor has it measured the impact of shifting resources from traditional oversight activities to the new approach.
The audit also found that Transport Canada has not yet identified how many inspectors it needs both during and after the transition, and what competencies they should have. (Office of the Auditor General of Canada)