Cabin Safety Program

Transport Canada has long recognized the importance of Cabin Safety and its role as an essential component of aviation safety.

Cabin Safety focuses on aircraft occupant safety, and the safety responsibilities and roles of aircraft cabin crew members. These safety interests overlap into many areas of the aviation industry, including aircraft design, configuration, operations, in-flight service, maintenance, and flight crew training, to name a few.

Goal of Cabin Safety

Globally, airline activity is expected to steadily increase in the future. If the current accident rate remains unchanged, the statistical reality is that the number of airline accidents will increase. Given that Transport Canada's top priority is safety, the challenge for all specialties within Civil Aviation is to find ways to lower the accident rate. Recognizing that reducing or preventing the number of accidents is the domain of others, e.g. design engineers, aircraft maintenance engineers, pilots, etc., Cabin Safety's goal is aimed at increasing the survival rate by minimizing hazards in the cabin and its environment to reduce the effects of an accident.

Definition of Cabin Safety

Due to the diverse responsibilities and interests of Cabin Safety, it is a difficult field to define. Cabin Safety covers a wide range of areas. Examples include crashworthiness, operations, human factors, psychology, bio-dynamics, physiology, ergonomics, pedagogy, etc.

The Cabin Safety Standards Unit at Transport Canada uses the following working definition to best describe the cabin safety field:

"Cabin Safety is a field that reduces fatalities and injuries resulting from an accident and provides for a safe environment for passengers and crew members in and around the aircraft, prior to and during boarding and deplaning phases, while the aircraft is on the airport apron with people on configuration, its furnishings, its equipment and its people."

Cabin Safety Team

Transport Canada employed its first inspector dedicated solely to the cabin safety specialty in the mid sixties. It now staffs a qualified team of Cabin Safety Inspectors operating across Canada and internationally.

Today, with more than 13,000 flight attendants employed by Canadian operators, a team of over 20 Cabin Safety Inspectors situated across Canada oversees and serves well over 1,000 domestic commercial and private operators to ensure operations are conducted safely and in accordance with the Aeronautics Act and the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

In addition, Cabin Safety Inspectors within the Foreign Inspection Division monitor foreign operators to ensure compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices.

The Cabin Safety team is here for aviation safety – upholding the values of professionalism, service, respect and teamwork.

Organizational Structure

The Cabin Safety program consists of three organizational components within Transport Canada Civil Aviation, each specializing and overseeing their portion of the program.

  • Cabin Safety – Standards
  • Cabin Safety – Operations
  • Cabin Safety – Foreign

Transport Canada implements line and functional relations within and between headquarters and the regional offices.

The Cabin Safety Standards Unit provides functional direction to the operational Cabin Safety Inspectors. Cabin Safety Inspectors report directly to their Regional or Divisional manager for line authority (operational).

Following is a chart depicting the structure of the Cabin Safety program and flow of authority.

Click on image below to view enlarged version





Priority of Inspection

Using risk management principles, inspection resources and efforts are directed where it will have the greatest benefit.

As the greatest numbers of passengers are carried on commercial aircraft, inspection of airline operations (Canadian Aviation Regulation 705) takes top priority.

The next priority is commuter operations (Canadian Aviation Regulation 704), which voluntarily choose to put a cabin crew member on board their aircraft with nineteen or less passengers.

Other commuter operations follow: air taxi operations (Canadian Aviation Regulation 703) operating with a seating configuration of nine or less; flight training units; and lastly general aviation.