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  8. Speaking Notes for the Director General of Civil Aviation, Martin J. Eley, at the Canadian Business Aviation Association Convention 2010, Plenary Session

Speaking Notes for the Director General of Civil Aviation, Martin J. Eley, at the Canadian Business Aviation Association Convention 2010, Plenary Session


JULY 8, 2010

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Introduction and Objectives

Good morning. Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to speak to you today.
I am here today because Transport Canada is committed to the safety and sustainability of business aviation. This will not change.

Business Aviation As of April 1, 2011

On March 16, 2010, the Minister announced Transport Canada would be taking back the certification and oversight functions of business aviation from the Canadian Business Aviation Association .

All operators with a valid Private Operations Certificate should know that as of April 1, 2011 there will be no immediate changes to existing POCs. What will change is that Transport Canada will be responsible for inspections, audits, renewals and the issuing of new certifications.

Business Aviation Until April 1, 2011

Until April 1, 2011, services offered to operators through CBAA new certifications, changes to existing certificates will remain status quo.

During this time Transport Canada will:

  • maintain its current role in regulatory safety oversight of the industry
  • undertake an enhanced surveillance of the Association’s current certification and oversight functions
  • conduct a thorough review of the regulatory structures currently in place for business aviation operations in Canada

Foremost, we are working with the CBAA to develop a transition plan that takes all the concerns and suggestions of its members into account.

Service Standards

I am fully aware of POC holders concerns with level of service.

I would like to reaffirm, today, our commitment to providing high standards of service for all Canadians. Transport Canada is dedicated to ensuring that services are designed and delivered, to the best of our ability, based on our stakeholders’ needs and expectations.

We have outlined employee and stakeholders’ rights and responsibilities in a Service Charter, which I see enabling us to strengthen our efforts to deliver a regulatory program that is effective, efficient, transparent and responsive.   

Recently, I approved Transport Canada Civil Aviation service standards for activities with and without fees. This publication, available on our Website, provides you with a central resource that describes Civil Aviation services, as well as the related timelines and any applicable fees for each service.

For the first time, a full listing of all services offered by Civil Aviation are documented clearly, including:

  • a brief description and characteristics of each service
  • the timeline for delivering most services, including the range of normal processing time and maximum number of days required to provide a service
  • the fees for services with associated costs to stakeholders
  • the listing of services that do not have associated fees

Publishing this information in one central place will make it easier for all Civil Aviation employees to find the requisite information and provide a high quality of service to stakeholders. We are incorporating this material in our training and ramping up internal communications to make sure our employees are aware of our service commitment to you.

To help us achieve our goals in providing quality service, Civil Aviation is also introducing a new component to our processes that will enable us to measure our performance for services with related fees.

Over the next several years, this new measurement component will be introduced gradually in a phased-in approach, region-by-region. All employees will receive training on the system, as well as any changes to current processes.

We will keep you informed of any updates or changes to the process as they arise.

Safety Management Systems

Now, let me address safety management systems.

Back in March, an international high-level aviation safety conference was held at the International Civil Aviation Organization headquarters in Montreal.

The conference brought together global aviation safety leaders to build consensus and formulate recommendations to improve the safety of air travel. ICAO and the world would like to adopt many of the systems that we are already years ahead in implementing. SMS is the global standard.

Canada leads the world in having these systems already in place. We will continue to implement safety management systems in all sectors, including for private operations. I expect the regulations to look very similar to those in-force today for large carriers, airports, and air navigation providers.

We have one of the safest aviation systems in the world. In the last public confidence survey, 96 per cent of Canadians expressed confidence in Canadian aviation. Incident rates are at record lows. When an incident does occur, we identify causes and make adjustments. But, reaction by definition means we are too late. SMS takes our focus from this reactive regulatory approach toward a proactive safety culture. It gives Transport Canada the power to go further than ever before by measuring how well the industry proactively addresses risks to safety. This is the natural evolution of aviation.

We know that we cannot reduce aviation incidents by technological improvements alone. To evolve our system, we had to target the human factor; we had to make safety a culture and proactive response a mindset.

During the last year, I have travelled across the country to speak with our inspectors and industry groups and get their input on the future direction of SMS implementation. From these conversations, we have made adjustments to the program while keeping the momentum moving forward.

We are proud that large commercial operators have completed implementing SMS, but we also agree that the smaller operators need more time. As such, we have given ourselves an additional year to refine procedures, update training for our inspectors and plan the extent of the next phase.

We intend to make our surveillance program even stronger by reviewing and modifying procedures, training and guidance material and by taking the time to properly address workload pressures and viability.

Nevertheless, Transport Canada remains committed to improving aviation safety through SMS. The system will save lives.

Emergency Locator Transmitter

I’d like to address the upcoming amendments to ELT regulations.

Cospas-Sarsat, the international organization responsible for the detection of satellite distress signals, only monitors transmitters operating at the 406 MHz frequency. The International Civil Aviation Organization mandates these transmitters citing its superiority and quicker ability to relay distress signals.

As such, an ELT regulatory package is currently being processed and will come into force as soon as possible.

The current regulation does not mandate a 406 MHz ELT, but it does require that you have a transmitter with similar performance capabilities. We are also giving you time to make this upgrade to your aircraft. This will also provide time for ELT production to increase.

The proposed regulations will help search and rescue teams find victims of an incident while there is still time. This regulation is the right thing to do and will save lives.

The last decade has certainly been a busy one for us, and we’ve accomplished a tremendous amount. Our most notable accomplishment is commencing the process of regulating safety management systems for aviation organizations. This requires every aviation organization to have clear internal quality assurance of the processes they put in place in order to ensure regulatory compliance and ultimately safety.

Transport Canada’s Aviation Safety Strategic Plan

A last point I’d like to address is the department’s strategic plan for aviation safety. In our efforts to rise up to the challenge of continuous improvement, Transport Canada has been making a move toward being more strategic and planning for where we see our organization in the future as it relates to aviation safety.

We are well along in the development of our newest five-year strategic plan . It will review what we have accomplished with Flight 2010, and what we believe should be carried forward for the coming years.

I am interested in building trust and confidence with you, our stakeholders, by consulting with you to ensure you understand the intent of our safety programs. This includes keeping you knowledgeable of the latest developments in policy. We have consulted industry associations on several occasions. The goal of this outreach is to help improve transparency, efficiency and levels of regulatory compliance.

We expect the plan to prepare us to be able to adapt and make changes when and where they are required. The goal is to offer the best value for Canadians today and for future generations of Canadians.


Regulations are part of the safety improvement process. Nevertheless, we will consult with you to determine ways to reduce the regulatory weight without compromising safety.

In closing, the decision to take back responsibility of certification and oversight was not made because of safety concerns related to CBAA certification, nor is it a criticism of the Association. Business aviation has traditionally been a very safe sector that is considered to be a lower risk activity than the commercial sector. Public confidence in the safety of the aviation system is an important aspect of our regulatory approach to the industry. It was, therefore, determined that Transport Canada should retain full responsibility for the service and surveillance aspects of the business aviation sector.

Transport Canada has always been responsible for regulatory safety oversight of the CBAA private operator certificate program and the CBAA. Because certification and oversight of air operators is a core responsibility of Transport Canada, the Minister decided, after review, that these activities should not be conducted by the private sector for business aviation.

We need each other to be able to advance and evolve business aviation in Canada. I look forward to the next year and to strengthening our partnership as we work together during this transition.

Thank you.

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