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Transport Canada Criticized for Deregulating Pilot Evaluations

Transport Canada Criticized for Deregulating Pilot Evaluations
Jackie Reddy

It has been announced that the responsibility for appraising the nation’s check pilots will now be undertaken by individual operators.

It has been announced that Transport Canada will be halting its evaluation of check pilots at some of the nation’s major carriers as of this spring, CTV News reports. Instead, the appraisal of these check pilots, who are responsible for competency checks on their crew member peers, will fall to the airlines themselves. This change has been criticized from some within the nation’s aviation industry, who are concerned that the move will compromise both public safety as well as the oversight process.

An excerpt from the risk assessment document related to the policy change, as quoted by the outlet, reads, “It could be argued that Canada’s experience and relative maturity with systems-based surveillance will adequately complement this shift of responsibilities […] and therefore mitigate any concerns other states or trade associations may have with response to such a departure from globally accepted practices.”

However, the change is proving too extreme for some within the nation’s aviation industry. Captain Greg McConnell, the national chair of the Canadian Federal Pilots Association, was quoted in an interview as saying, “I think it’s very, very important that people understand we are getting closer to self-regulation all the time. It’s just more cutting, more dismantling of the safety net.”

Transport Canada has defended this change in policy. In a statement via e-mail, it said, “Data has demonstrated that over the past five years, approved check pilots have had a very low failure rate (less than 0.2 per cent) when being monitored by Transport Canada. The department is confident that approved check pilots are exercising their delegation of authority properly.”

Those within the nation’s government have also expressed their concern that the change in policy wasn’t made open to official debate. Robert Aubin, Member of Parliament (MP) for the country’s New Democratic Party said, “I have concerns if the pilots who evaluate their pilots are not evaluated by Transport Canada.”

Another MP, Conservative Kelly Block, added, “When a parliamentary committee is seized with a topic and the department doesn’t disclose this kind of relevant information […] I think that’s very disturbing.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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