Guest Editorial

Quebec Region

Justin Bourgault
Justin Bourgault

Like the rest of Canada, the Quebec region is quite vast, and aviation is very important since it provides a fast and reliable means of covering long distances. The aviation sector is an essential element in Canada’s economy and transportation network. Whether for business, pleasure, exploration, or to provide remote communities with essential services, air transport is often the most efficient way to travel and transport commodities and equipment. In some cases, such as in the case of northern regions, it is the only way.

Hydroelectric projects on the lower North Shore as well as the boom in the mining industry in northern Quebec have lead to a significant increase in air traffic in these regions. This rapid growth has put pressure on infrastructures; however, it is important to remember that safety comes before profitability. Our air safety plan ranks among the best in the world, and in order for it to stay that way, cooperation between all aeronautic industry stakeholders is necessary.

The world is constantly evolving and aviation is no exception. Think of the advent of global positioning systems (GPS) which now allow us to conduct approaches at almost the same minima as those of instrument landing systems (ILS) at airports where such a thing was inconceivable only a few years ago. Lighter and more resistant material now allow for aircraft designs which are quieter, have better fuel range, can carry a higher pay load and use shorter runways. Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technology now allows air traffic controllers to “see” aircraft, even in the most remote areas, without the help of radar equipment. These are only a few examples, but they clearly demonstrate that we are in a state of constant change.

It is not only the industry that has to adapt in this ever-changing environment. Transport Canada has also modified their organizational structure in order to put the focus on the corporate sector. This reorganization began in the spring of 2011 and is now almost complete in our region. All work descriptions and their classifications had to be reviewed which proved to be a much more complicated task than anticipated. However, the work is on track for completion at the end of March 2013.

To wrap up this overview, I would like to emphasize that the aviation sector continues to see major growth, and that technology and regulations alone will not be able to improve the level of safety in the industry. All industry stakeholders must continue to work together to encourage a stronger safety culture at all levels.

Justin Bourgault
Regional Director, Civil Aviation
Quebec Region

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