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Former aviation inspector: Transport Canada's "main concern was to get out of enforcement business"

Tells Standing Committee of switch to SMS and self-regulation.

by Hugh Danford, Former Civil Aviation Inspector, Transport Canada, addressing Standing Committee as an Individual)

OTTAWA, Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, May 21, 2007

I'd like to thank the committee for this opportunity to finally speak on a subject that is well known to me.

Let me first give you my background in aviation. My career spanned 30 years in aircraft operation. Most of my 9,000 hours were on Twin Otter aircraft on wheels, floats, and skis. I've flown for small airlines and corporations in the Arctic, Antarctic, North Africa, and the Middle East. My last posting was in the Maldives, before TC's enforcement division in Ottawa hired me in May 1998.

During my early days at TC, I was involved with the basic aviation enforcement course that all inspectors were required to take as a prerequisite to obtaining their delegated authority under the minister. I gave the course introduction and included, among other topics, the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Aviation Safety, the Dubin report; the Commission of Inquiry into the Air Ontario Crash at Dryden, Ontario, the Moshansky report; and Swanson v. Canada, arctic wings and rotors. Managers were not required to take this training, even though they held a delegated authority.

I soon realized that the information I was presenting the attendees did not reflect the actual situation or expectations of the inspectors in exercising their delegated authority. It appeared to me that management's main concern was to get out of the enforcement business and the liability issues inherent in that responsibility. We were not practising what we preached.

I transferred to the system safety branch, where one of my duties was to sell the SMS to the regions. They balked. . .

Links and sources
  Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, May 14, 2007, Hugh Danford transcript
  Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, May 14, 2007, table of contents

Posted: June 11, 2008

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