Transport Canada's Interpretation Policy Implementation Report

I. Introduction

In Transport Canada's Regulatory Interpretation Policy, published December 19, 2014, the department committed to check in with stakeholders on current interpretation practices and identify areas for improvement and metrics for evaluating their implementation. Transport Canada also committed to implement these improvements within two years and update Canadians on performance in implementing these improvements by March 31, 2017.

In consultation with key stakeholders, Transport Canada undertook joint efforts to identify areas for improvement related to the department's current regulatory interpretation policies and practices. The areas identified led to the creation of the regulatory Interpretation Policy Improvement Plan for the purpose of improving regulatory interpretation practices.

II. Improvement Plan Outcomes

Transport Canada made a commitment to implement the eight improvements listed below by March 31, 2017. TC also committed to measure performance on these improvements through a survey questionnaire wherein stakeholder organizations were asked to assess their satisfaction with Transport Canada's interpretation practices.

The questionnaire ran from mid-February 2017 to mid-March 2017. A majority of stakeholders indicated satisfaction with Transport Canada's regulatory interpretation practices overall, however there was a general consensus that further refinements could be made to the clarity of regulatory guidance documents and that a more timely release of these documents following changes to regulations would be helpful to stakeholders. Transport Canada recognizes that the provision of clear guidance on regulatory compliance must be an ongoing process and is committed to ensuring that stakeholders are given clear, consistent, and timely information about how to meet regulatory requirements.

2.1. Improving Predictability

Providing Guidance and Building Awareness

Commitment 1: Update the Railway Safety Management System Regulations' (SMS) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to avoid any confusion between the 2001 and 2015 SMS regulations links referred to in the interpretation policy.
Current Status: Completed.

Commitment 2: Update the Railway Safety Act Compliance and Enforcement Policy with a new Oversight Policy to include Administrative Monetary Penalties and the Railway Operating Certificate.
Current Status: Completed.

Commitment 3: Transfer the content of Transport Canada's website, which is currently accessible to the public, to the Canada website (Canada.ca) within a few months to make it easier to find information to aid in the interpretation of transportation regulations.
Current Status: TC is to migrate into Canada.ca by December 2017. At this time, TC continues to work on our website content to be ready for migration.

Commitment 4: Create a Safety Awareness team within the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Directorate to develop tools and materials to help the public better understand the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.
Current Status: The team is in the process of being staffed.

2.2. Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder Engagement

Commitment 5: Continue to engage stakeholders through existing consultation mechanisms and use other engagement methods such as webinars, teleconferences and surveys across Canada to gauge stakeholders' satisfaction in this regard.
Current Status: This is an ongoing commitment. Transport Canada continues to engage with stakeholders via national and regional meetings, as well as through the use of technology (teleconferences, videoconferences, surveys, etc.).

Commitment 6: Transport Canada's Civil Aviation Directorate will seek stakeholder input on advisory circulars, where appropriate, and when a lack of internal technical expertise has been identified to provide advice.
Current Status: This is an ongoing commitment. Civil Aviation continues to be committed to engaging stakeholders on guidance material, such as advisory circulars, with the aim of ensuring that our regulatory intent is clearly conveyed. TC has integrated this approach into our regulatory framework processes. For example, in 2016, Civil Aviation sought input from industry on advisory circulars regarding quality assurance and safety management systems for small organizations.

2.3. Service

Staff Training

Commitment 7: Create a Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) subcommittee of the National Compliance Working Group to harmonize dangerous goods training for TDG inspectors across Canada.
Current Status: The subcommittee was created and has evolved to focus on highway tank training for provinces and territories.

Commitment 8: Provide training to all inspectors and employees who carry out oversight activities on behalf of the Minister of Transport in order to enhance consistency in the interpretation and enforcement of transportation regulations.
Current Status: Mandatory training for employees with Ministerial authorities is being provided as required. A Multimodal Oversight and Enforcement Foundations training course has recently been designed and is being delivered nationally.

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