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Archived - Weaknesses in Surveillance of Aviation Companies Need to be Addressed

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(Chapter 5—Oversight of Civil Aviation—Transport Canada—Spring 2012 Report of the Auditor General)

Ottawa, 3 April 2012—Transport Canada has put in place a regulatory framework for civil aviation safety that is consistent with international standards, says Michael Ferguson, the Auditor General of Canada, in his Report tabled today in the House of Commons. However, the Department needs to improve key aspects of its surveillance of aviation companies.

“Though Canada has an excellent aviation safety track record, Transport Canada needs to be diligent in its oversight of the safety systems of aviation companies” said Mr. Ferguson.

Like many other national regulators, Transport Canada has moved to an approach that puts the onus on large aviation companies to develop safety management systems in accordance with regulations, while the Department oversees their compliance.

The audit found that while some aspects of surveillance are working well, there are weaknesses in how Transport Canada plans, conducts, and reports on its surveillance activities. For example, in 2010–11, only about two thirds of planned inspections were completed—which is significant, since only the higher-risk companies and operations are selected for inspection in any given year. Most inspections did not fully comply with established methodology, and were subject to little management oversight.

“Transport Canada has made progress in moving to a new regulatory framework,” said Mr. Ferguson. “Now, it must resolve the significant weaknesses in surveillance that we identified.”

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The chapter “Oversight of Civil Aviation—Transport Canada” is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada Web site.

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