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Canadian committee recommends mandatory use of SMS for all commercial operators
22 June 2017

A Canadian Parliament Committee issued a report to the federal government with 17 recommendations, aimed at enhancing aviation safety in Canada.

The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities heard 47 witnesses and received 11 briefs, leading to a report with 17 safety recommendations.


Notably the Committee recommends the mandatory implementation of a Safety Management System for all commercial operators in Canada, including the air taxi sector. Also, the federal government is urged to implement the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommendation on 300-metre runway end safety areas.


  1. That Transport Canada use its proposed regulation for fatigue management, based on scientific evidence and with safety as a primary concern, for the purpose of soliciting comment and advice, while pursuing consultation with stakeholders, in order to find ways to take into account the specific operating conditions of certain regions.
  2. That Transport Canada review Interim Order No. 5 Respecting Flight Deck Occupants in consultation with stakeholders to ensure it is fulfilling its objectives.
  3. That the federal government revise the 50:1 passenger to flight attendant ratio in consultation with stakeholders and experts on flight attendant ratios, while keeping the security of Canadians as a top priority.
  4. That the Minister of Transport examine best practices for flight training, striking a balance between in flight and simulator based training and certification for pilots. And that in his study, the Minister take into account recent technological advances, as well as seek input from industry and pilot associations.
  5. That Transport Canada reviews its decision to allow Transport Canada and Transportation Safety Board pilots to renew flight certifications using only simulators.
  6. That the implementation of a Safety Management System becomes mandatory for all commercial operators, including the air taxi sector.
  7. That Transport Canada:
    a. establish targets to ensure more on-site safety inspections versus Safety Management System audits;
    b. use poor results from Safety Management System audits (including whistleblower input) as a ‘flag’ for prioritizing on-site inspections;
    c. Review whistleblower policies to ensure adequate protection for people who raise safety issues to foster open, transparent and timely disclosure of safety concerns.
  8. That the government make sure that Safety Management Systems are accompanied by an effective, properly financed, adequately staffed system of regulatory oversight: monitoring, surveillance and enforcement supported by sufficient, appropriately trained staff.
  9. That Transport Canada review all training processes and training materials for civil aviation inspectors to ensure they have the resources to perform their duties effectively.
  10. That Transport Canada establish an expedited process for responding to Transportation Safety Board of Canada air safety related recommendations, including the backlog, and that an enhanced reporting system be adopted to prevent recommendations from languishing, without action, on the Transportation Safety Board Active Recommendations list regarding aviation.
  11. That Transport Canada invite the International Civil Aviation Organization to conduct a comprehensive audit of Canada’s civil aviation oversight system.
  12. That Transport Canada undertake an air safety review and report its findings back to Parliament.
  13. That the federal government produce an annual compliance report on Transport Canada’s implementation of any measures identified in the audit conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
  14. That the federal government implement the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and International Civil Aviation Organization recommendation on 300-metre runway end safety areas.
  15. That Transport Canada examine the various security databases upon which security clearances rely to ensure they are as current as possible.
  16. That the government increase the financing of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, in particular by making sure that the revenues from the fees paid by travelers are allocated to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.
  17. That Transport Canada develop a plan and a timeline to address the specific operating conditions and infrastructure needs of airlines serving Northern Canada and small airports.