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Aviation Enforcement and Punitive Action
by Jean-François Mathieu, LL.B., Chief, Aviation Enforcement, Regulatory Services, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

The Minister of Transport is responsible for taking disciplinary action against all those who violate the Aeronautics Act or Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs). At Transport Canada, the Aviation Enforcement Division is specialized in conducting regulatory investigations of all alleged violations of the aviation regulations.

Transport Canada’s Aviation Enforcement Policy recognizes the fact that “voluntary compliance” with the regulations is the most progressive and effective approach to achieving aviation safety. However, punitive action may prove to be necessary when there is a violation of the Canadian regulations. This punitive action is applied with fairness and firmness, taking into account the public’s safety and economic consequences.

If the Minister has reasonable grounds to believe that a person has contravened a designated provision, he may impose a monetary penalty, and determine the amount of the penalty pursuant to Schedule II of CAR 103.08. If it turns out that voluntary compliance will not occur after imposing a monetary penalty, or if the nature of the alleged offence is such that it requires more severe punitive action, the Minister may suspend the Canadian aviation document (licence or permit) for a specific amount of time, in accordance with section 6.9 of the Act.

Recent amendments to the Aeronautics Act will allow the Minister to use new punitive action. For example, if the Minister has reasonable grounds to believe that a person contravened a designated provision, he could issue a “notice of a violation without a monetary penalty” or obtain a “compliance undertaking” from the offender.

Furthermore, the implementation of the regulation regarding safety management systems (SMS) and the policy published by Aviation Enforcement will allow the organizations that are subject to this regulation to submit corrective actions without imposing enforcement action. This policy allows certificate holders governed by an SMS, the opportunity to determine, by themselves, proposed corrective measures to prevent recurrence of a contravention, as well as the best course of action to help foster future compliance. We invite you to take a look at this policy on the following Web site:

The Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada (TATC)

The TATC replaced the Civil Aviation Tribunal (CAT) that was established under Part IV of the Aeronautics Act in 1986. The Act establishing the TATC came into force on June 30, 2003. The TATC is a multi-modal tribunal that is available to the air and rail sectors. It will be available to the marine sector at a later date. The Tribunal was established to provide the transportation community with the opportunity to have enforcement and licensing decisions taken by the Minister of Tranport reviewed by an independent body. The Minister’s enforcement and licensing decisions may include the imposition of monetary penalties or the suspension and cancellation of a Canadian aviation document. Additional information on the TATC is available on their Web site

In future editions we will discuss recent cases decided by the TATC, which may be of interest to the aviation community.

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