“Let our collective ideas take flight”
A message from the Director General, Civil Aviation

Martin Eley
Martin J. Eley

It’s my pleasure to contribute to this issue of the Aviation Safety Letter, as it provides me a means to formally introduce myself. Although I have tried to attend association meetings and other gatherings over the last few months, I have not had the opportunity to speak with some of you. This piece gives me the chance to say hello and give you an idea of who I am, where I come from, and where I see us going together.

I feel that it is worthwhile to begin with a few highlights from my journey in aviation up until now. I began my career in 1972 as an undergraduate apprentice with the British Aircraft Corporation at Weybridge in Surrey—at a time when the last of the production Concordes were being completed. After graduating from aeronautical engineering at the University of London in 1977, I moved to Warton in Lancashire to work on the application of composite materials to Jaguar and Tornado military aircraft at British Aerospace.

In 1982, I moved to Canada to join Transport Canada as a structures engineer in the former Airworthiness Branch. As a senior engineering program manager from 1985 to 1994, I was responsible for the type certification of many Canadair/Bombardier aircraft and various other foreign products. I went on to become the chief of engineering and was involved in the type certification of the majority of Canadian products and a variety of foreign products before becoming the director responsible for aircraft certification in 2001. In that role, I was very proud to be part of Viking’s initiative to take over the type certificates for the de Havilland (Bombardier) legacy products.

On May 4 of this year, I was appointed to the position of Director General, Civil Aviation. And with new leadership comes change. It is inevitable that I will do some things differently than they have been done in the past, but I would like to assure you of a few things as we begin this journey together. The benefits of introducing and implementing safety management systems (SMS) in the aviation industry and our own Integrated Management System (IMS) within Transport Canada are already clear. We have made the right choice and are on the right track. I am committed to seeing through the full implementation of both systems, while recognizing that in a culture of continuous improvement, adjustments will be made along the way based on the experience we gain. I also believe that the reorganization of the Civil Aviation Directorate is necessary for us to meet the needs of the current and future aviation environments.

“The benefits of introducing and implementing
safety management systems (SMS) in the aviation industry
and our own Integrated Management System (IMS)
within Transport Canada are already clear.”

One of my personal objectives over the next few months is to solidify and establish positive working relationships with our many stakeholders. This is fundamental to keeping the lines of communication open and helping with the resolution of issues as they arise. Our stakeholders include: the users and operators of the civil-aviation system and industry associations; Transport Canada employees at Civil Aviation in Ottawa and the Regions and the unions that represent them; and colleagues throughout Transport Canada, other government departments, and foreign authorities. These partnerships are critical in this industry, and emphasis must be placed on their role in our collective success.

Transport Canada’s aviation safety work over the coming years will be guided by our directorate’s next strategic plan, which is currently being developed and is expected to “take flight” later this year. I have received ideas from many of you about the way forward, and your suggestions continue to be very valuable to me. When our existing plan, Flight 2010, was first released in 2005, it gave a description of our goals and where we expected to be as an organization five years down the road. The clear vision and strategy outlined in Flight 2010 has helped us to make great strides in the development of civil aviation in Canada. Although much of the material in Flight 2010 remains relevant, we must examine it with fresh eyes to ensure that our strategy for the Aviation Safety Program continues to be pertinent and valuable over the next five years. By looking ahead with a clear strategic plan, we will be better equipped to face whatever comes our way. Forward thinking provides us with the strong direction and commitment necessary for our future achievements.

“One of my personal objectives
over the next few months is to solidify
and establish positive working relationships
with our many stakeholders.”

The pioneers of aviation took risks. Big risks. They had a vision—a dream that guided them to build a contraption and have it take flight. They couldn’t know then if an airplane would even lift off the ground, let alone stay in the air. But their perseverance paid off. The same holds true for the risks we take today. We have the advantage of tools that help us take a structured approach to managing the risks inherent during times of change.

Today, we have a robust civil-aviation system that we can be proud of, and I am confident that, together, we can meet the challenges of taking the aviation industry to higher levels of success and safety.

Martin J. Eley
Director General
Civil Aviation

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