Regulations and You

The Regulatory Solution
by Pierre-Laurent Samson, Civil Aviation Safety Inspector, Regulatory Affairs, Policy and Regulatory Services, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

Modification of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) -by introducing new regulations, or amending existing ones-is the result of the combined efforts of many; representatives of the Canadian aviation industry, Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA), the Department of Justice and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) are all required to participate in the process. This article will map out the steps a regulatory modification must follow to become an enforceable regulation.

The regulatory process starts with the recognition of an issue that must be resolved, and ends with the final approval of the new regulation by the Treasury Board Committee.

Civil Aviation uses a risk management approach to determine the need for regulatory change. Accordingly, any modification to the CARs must be supported by the findings of a risk assessment.

A risk assessment is a processed approach to problem solving that minimizes hazards and costs, while maximizing safety and benefits. The risk assessment team is composed of functional area specialists from Transport Canada (TC), but may also include stakeholders and experts from other departments or from the Canadian aviation industry. A risk assessment is not required when harmonizing Canadian regulations with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (or with the International Civil Aviation Organization [ICAO] if it does not impact on bilateral agreements with the FAA); for issues already prioritized by the Civil Aviation Regulatory Committee (CARC); in the case of administrative or editorial amendments; or for ministerial directives.

If the risk assessment team determines that an issue should be corrected by modifying the CARs, two courses of action will be initiated simultaneously. On one hand, a Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) is drafted by the appropriate functional area for presentation and discussion at a meeting of one of the Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council (CARAC) standing Technical Committees, which is attended by industry stakeholders and Civil Aviation. On the other hand, the Regulatory Affairs Division prepares a triage questionnaire that will determine the scope of the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS), which must accompany new regulation to Canada Gazette, Part I.

Once an NPA has been fully consulted through CARAC and approved by CARC, it is sent to the Department of Justice for legal drafting. The Regulatory Affairs Division coordinates the on-going discussions between the drafters and the technical experts within Civil Aviation.

While the NPA follows its route through the CARAC consultation process, the Regulatory Affairs Division must also prepare the triage questionnaire, which is a document presented to TBS to advise it of the recommended change to the regulation. The triage questionnaire provides a description of the issue that needs to be corrected through regulatory action, and the proposed solution. It also gives an estimate of the level of impact a proposed regulation will have on health and safety, the environment, the economy, social values, regional specificities, and public safety.

The initial evaluation of the expected level of impact will define the type of RIAS that must be prepared and presented to TBS in order to justify the selected regulatory solution.

The triage questionnaire is started early in the regulatory process, and the information it presents may change as new information becomes available and additional analyses and consultations are completed. Consequently, it may be revised and returned to TBS as a way to communicate the new direction a proposed regulation is taking.

The RIAS is a document that provides a description of what the government is going to implement, how Canadians have been consulted, and what they have said. It communicates the alternatives that have been considered, quantifies the impact of the proposed regulation with a cost-benefit analysis, and explains the procedures and resources that will be used to ensure the new regulation is respected.

A RIAS can be a modest affair of a few paragraphs if the proposed regulation is simple and has little impact. On the other hand, a regulatory solution that would affect any aspect of the Canadian fabric-be it economic, environmental, or health and safety-will warrant a complex exercise with a thorough quantitative cost-benefit analysis of the expected impact.

After all parties involved have agreed to a final version of the RIAS and the proposed amendment to the CARs, they are approved by TC executives, the Deputy Minister (DM), and the Minister, and are sent to the TBS to be presented to the Treasury Board Committee for approval. Once approved, both documents are turned over to the Canada Gazette where the proposed regulations and the RIAS will be published in Canada Gazette, Part I (CGI) for a consultation period of 30 days. The Canada Gazette is the official newspaper of the government of Canada. CGI presents proposed regulations, government notices, and appointments that are required by statute to be published so as to disseminate information to the public.

Comments or dissents to the proposed regulation are returned to the Regulatory Affairs Division, who will address them. The RIAS and proposed regulation will be amended to answer these comments and dissents, and sent one more time for approval by TC executives, the DM, and the Minister.

The proposed regulation is then returned to the TBS for re-approval by the Committee members, and then moved forward to be registered by the Clerk of the Privy Council, under the authorization of the Governor in Council. It will appear in the Canada Gazette, Part II (CGII) to give notice to Canadians that what started as an NPA, and became a proposed regulation, is now a regulation.

For more information on Transport Canada’s risk management processes, visit Information on the triage questionnaire can be found in the document Framework for the Triage of Regulatory Submission at Finally, for information on RIAS, you can read the document RIAS Writer’s Guide, which can be found at

Regulatory Process Flow Chart

Regulatory Process Flow Chart

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