Chapter 4. Communications, Liability and Surveillance


4.5  Access to Information

The Aircraft Certification Branch has developed an ACSI which answers the question of what is proprietary information and what can be disclosed to a Delegate. This information is provided in ACSI 36 in paragraph 9.1(a) which identifies that manuals specified in AWM section 511.31 fall under the Access to Information Act - Mandatory Exemption. The following is an extract from the ACSI:

9.0  MATERIAL CUSTODY AND ACCESS

9.1  Section 20(1) of the Access to Information Act states: "Information that could reasonably be expected to interfere with contractual or negotiations of a third party and which could be expected to result in material financial loss or gain is a Mandatory Exemption." Therefore, technical manuals supplied by aeronautical product manufacturers, fall under this exemption. The manufacturers with whom Transport Canada deals consider the documents they supply Transport Canada to be proprietary and specifically forbid their disclosure by Transport Canada. Unless a manufacturer has explicitly said that Transport Canada can freely distribute any information they have provided, it should be understood that they deem their material to be proprietary.

Notes:

  1. Delegates and other members of the public are not TCCA employees and do not enjoy the same privileges as TCCA employees. Both this ACSI and MPL 15 (Appendix A, 505.608 - Access to Transport Canada Documentation) make it clear that no one but authorized TCCA personnel can have access to these materials. Moreover, the Delegations Handbook for Designated Engineers and Design Approval Representatives, states: "delegates may utilize the non-proprietary holdings of the Airworthiness Technical Reference Centres located in each Region".
     
  2. Manufacturer supplied materials held in the TRC collections, including Type Certificate Dockets, Flight Manuals, Maintenance Manuals, Parts Catalogues, etc., are proprietary, and cannot be disclosed to the public. Access to the TRCs and the proprietary documents they contain is restricted to authorized TCCA personnel.
     
  3. Documents produced by government agencies in Canada or the United States, when not specifically identified as proprietary, can be made available to the public, although any manufacturer-supplied documents to which they refer cannot be provided by TCCA.

9.2  Regulatory documents, periodicals and general reference materials may be viewed and reproduced subject to compliance with copyright rules.

9.3  Manufacturer's data provided in the form of engineering design reports, loads and stress analysis reports, installation drawings, etc., provided to TCCA as supporting documents for aircraft type certification or modification/repair projects, which may be retained in a project docket that is stored in a TRC, should be regarded as confidential and proprietary documents, and thus are subject to the appropriate provisions of the Access to Information Act.

9.4  Any person who is not a TCCA employee, including Ministerial Delegates, having reason to view or obtain copies of the manufacturer's scientific or technical documentation should be advised to obtain the required documentation directly from the appropriate manufacturer(s).

9.5  Transportation Safety Board employees will be allowed to view manufacturer manuals but not to borrow them. Photocopying is up to the discretion of the Regional or HQ TRC, subject to copyright rules.

9.6  The TRC's collection contains information that is excluded under the Access to Information Act; therefore, most areas of the collection are not available for public viewing. Civil Aviation personnel must be aware of the restrictions imposed by the Access to Information Act with respect to these collections.

9.7  The technical manuals in the TRC's collection may be required to be produced in court cases involving TCCA personnel. The Access to Information Act does not exempt these technical manuals from such use. However, the primary reason for holding these technical manuals is to make them readily available to the TCCA personnel who use them in the course of their day-today activities. Use in court cases can tie up such documents indefinitely. Therefore, TCCA personnel requiring the manuals for use in court cases must identify that use to the TRC personnel. The TRC personnel must then check the manual to confirm that it is complete and up to date, make a copy of either the whole manual or a specifically required part of it, identify it as a certified copy, and provide the copy to the client for use in court.

9.8  Manuals do not have to be provided to a third party whom is neither an employee of the department nor of the company producing the manual, except in response to a subpoena or a notice to produce issued by a Court. Unless such a document is issued by a Court and properly served on officers of the Department, there is no obligation to provide proprietary information to a third party.

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