Chapter 1 - Policy Overview

1.1 General

Aviation Enforcement promotes the goal of improved aviation safety by encouraging voluntary compliance with and through the enforcement of Canada's aeronautics legislation. When necessary, Aviation Enforcement investigates alleged violations of this legislation.

1.2 Our Obligation

As a contracting State of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Canada has an obligation to oversee the safe and efficient operation of aviation activity for which Canada is responsible. Further, as a signatory to the ICAO Convention on International Civil Aviation, Canada has agreed to the application of Article 12 of the Convention, “Rules of the air”, which states in part:

Each contracting State undertakes to adopt measures to insure that every aircraft flying over or maneuvering within its territory and that every aircraft carrying its nationality mark, wherever such aircraft may be, shall comply with the rules and regulations relating to the flight and maneuver of aircraft there in force. . . . Each contracting State undertakes to insure the prosecution of all persons violating the regulations applicable.

Accordingly, the Aviation Enforcement function supervises and administers the Enforcement mandate inherent in the international agreement. Enforcement and sanctioning powers, provided by a legal framework, have been delegated to Aviation Enforcement inspectors, who have the responsibility and authority to conduct investigations.

As a result of international agreement and domestic legislation, enforcement is not an option, it is an obligation. Vigorous enforcement action will be taken with respect to all deliberate breaches of the aviation safety standards.

1.3 Voluntary Compliance

We recognize that voluntary compliance with the regulations is the most progressive and effective approach to aviation safety.

Voluntary compliance is based on the idea that members of the aviation community have a shared interest, commitment, and responsibility to aviation safety, and that they will operate on the basis of common sense, personal responsibility, and respect for others.

1.4 Fairness and Firmness

We are committed to enforcing the regulations in a fair and firm manner. Concern about potential political consequences should not be taken in to consideration when determining the appropriate enforcement action.

We promote and apply a policy of fairness and firmness by

  1. encouraging open communication between alleged offenders and enforcement inspectors, especially in cases where there are mitigating circumstances;
  2. providing oral counselling for minor violations where there is no threat to aviation safety;
  3. informing offenders of their right to have penalties reviewed by the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada (TATC); and
  4. ensuring that repeat offenders and those who willfully disregard aviation safety are dealt with firmly.

1.5 Conflict of Interest

Inspectors must take measures to prevent real, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest in accordance with the principles of conduct and measures in the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for the Public Service.

If it becomes apparent there could be a possible conflict of interest during an investigation, the aviation inspector will inform his or her supervisor and request to be removed from the case.

1.6 Handling of Complaints

Complaints concerning Civil Aviation personnel shall be handled in accordance with Civil Aviation Directive No. 28. In this instance, a complaint is a formal expression of dissatisfaction with a Civil Aviation service, procedure, application of policy, or staff member.

1.7 Accessibility of Managers

Transport Canada Aviation Enforcement managers will be accessible to members of the public to explain the Enforcement policy process. Suggestions for improvement of this process are always welcome.

1.8 Amendment of the Policy Manual

This Manual will be amended as required; however, from time to time Enforcement policies will be revised or modified. These revisions will be presented in the form of an Aviation Enforcement policy letter (AEPL). The content and format of AEPLs is contained in AEPL No. 1. AEPLs will supersede the related policy as stated in this Manual. The Chief, Aviation Enforcement (CAE), on behalf of the Director, Regulatory Services, will issue an appropriate amendment to this Manual as soon as practical after an AEPL has been issued.

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