Guest Editorial

Photo of Aaron McCrorie

Aaron McCrorie

I am pleased to have this opportunity to introduce myself to all our stakeholders as the new director of the Standards Branch in the Civil Aviation Directorate at Transport Canada.

In this editorial, I would like to briefly discuss some of the principles that I think are integral to building a robust aviation safety program.

Ultimately, it is Canadian aviation document holders who are responsible for staying safe. This is achieved by complying with the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and its associated Standards and, more specifically, by proactively identifying, assessing and managing risks. In this context, Transport Canada’s role is to develop regulations that meet the public interest of improving aviation safety and to oversee compliance with those regulations. We do this by taking a risk-based approach, collaborating with stakeholders and looking at issues holistically and comprehensively.

Promoting the safe transportation of people and goods by air requires a risk-based approach. This means accepting that risk cannot be eliminated; it does not, however, mean that we blindly accept risk. Rather, a strong aviation safety program is built upon the identification, assessment and management of risks. As the nature of risk varies throughout the aviation industry, applying a risk-based approach allows us to adapt our program to different sectors of the aviation industry, allowing for a more effective mitigation of risks—one size does not always fit all. It also means applying our resources, whether in developing or overseeing regulations, to the areas of greatest risk—those areas where an investment in safety will produce the greatest benefit in terms of reducing risk.

Collaboration with all stakeholders is critical to identifying, developing and implementing the most effective approaches to improving safety. Those who operate and work in the aviation industry have unique knowledge and expertise from which we, at Transport Canada, need to benefit. We gather this information through formal and informal consultation with stakeholders. These exchanges must be based on mutual respect and a willingness to engage and listen. Given different roles and responsibilities, we may not always agree, but your views and knowledge are taken seriously when we make decisions and recommendations to the Minister.

It is rare that the response to any given safety issue is confined to the organizational boundaries that we all create for ourselves. For example, an effective response to many safety issues involves a number of different disciplines, including training, licensing, flight operations, maintenance, and aircraft design and certification. That is one of the reasons why Transport Canada has re-organized the Civil Aviation Directorate—to break down silos. As a result of this effort, all rule-making activities were pulled together into a single branch—Standards. This allows us to develop more effective safety solutions by ensuring a more holistic and comprehensive approach to program development and implementation.

In summary, I believe that an effective aviation safety program is built upon a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities; a risk-based approach; program development through collaboration with all stakeholders; and a holistic and comprehensive approach.

Finally, I look forward to meeting and working with you. As I have suggested, I find it useful to hear from all stakeholders to learn what are considered the challenges and opportunities that we face together. I firmly believe that it is only through meaningful dialogue and effective co-operation between stakeholders and regulators that we can build an effective, balanced and risk-based approach to aviation safety.

Aaron McCrorie
Director, Standards
Civil Aviation

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