Accountable executive: Safety management systems

Transport Canada introduced a new regulation requiring certain certificate holders to appoint an Accountable Executive.

The amendment to the regulations establishes a requirement for all air operators, approved maintenance organizations, airports and organizations providing air traffic services to identify the senior executive who will act on their behalf regarding ongoing compliance with regulations as well as a requirement to submit to the Minister, within 30 days of his or her appointment, a signed statement accepting the responsibilities of the position.

There is no personal liability associated with the position of an Accountable Executive as this individual represents the certificate holder. The certificate holder retains all liability for non-compliance with the regulations. This should not create an additional regulatory burden for operators, as the certificate holder has always been responsible for compliance. The Accountable Executive requirement is primarily a matter of identifying the senior individual who will discharge the certificate holder’s responsibilities, and particular, lead the necessary cultural change.

The Accountable Executive and safety management system regulations are the first steps in initiating a new regulatory approach for Transport Canada that will strengthen our partnerships with industry and assist us in meeting the safety challenges posed by new technology and increased global interconnectedness. Transport Canada intends to introduce requirements for all holders of operational or similar types of certificates, which are issued pursuant to the CARs to appoint an Accountable Executive and to institute a safety management system.

Many of Transport Canada’s guidance material on safety management systems refer to the Accountable Executive requirement. Consult the following documents to assist with the selection of an Accountable Executive:

  • 1.7 Accountable Executive; Implementation Procedures Guide for Air Operators and Approved Maintenance Organizations (TP 14343)
  • Appendix A - Compliance Document; Implementation Procedures Guide for Air Operators and Approved Maintenance Organizations (TP 14343)

Selection of an Accountable Executive

Reference: Canadian Aviation Regulation (CAR) 106.01 & 106.02

Effective in 2005, holders of a flight training unit operating certificate, approved maintenance organization certificate, and air operator certificate, will be required to appoint an accountable executive. The accountable executive will be a single, identifiable person within each organization who will assume full responsibility for the organization's ongoing compliance with the CARs (ref CAR 106). It is imperative that the correct person is identified as the accountable executive, and that the individual understands and accepts the roles and responsibilities associated with that position. This is not intended to be a position title without accountability.

To assist organizations with the selection of their accountable executive, Appendices A and B provide a flow chart and series of questions respectively. Appendix A identifies several organizational structures that will lead to a corresponding accountable executive. Once this person is determined, the questions in Appendix B will confirm the selected person is the correct choice. All questions must receive a 'yes' answer for the candidate to be acceptable. Should any of the questions result in a 'no' answer, the selection process must start again with a new candidate. The organizational structures included in the Appendix are intended to cover the majority of situations that will be encountered. Should there be an organizational structure that does not result in the clear selection of an accountable executive, an appropriate candidate will be selected in consultation with Transport Canada.

Organizations required per the above references, to name an Accountable Executive must, within 30-days of appointing the Accountable Executive:

  1. complete the attached Compliance Statement or provide a similarly signed statement confirming that the Accountable Executive accepts the responsibilities of the position; and
  2. submit the document to their principal operations or maintenance inspector as applicable.

Organizations are hereby authorized to amend their Flight Operations, Maintenance Control/Policy Manual or Quality Program Manual to incorporate the name of the Accountable Executive. This amendment does not require Transport Canada approval. The nomination of the Accountable Executive will be validated during the next inspection, regulatory audit or safety management system assessment. Inserting a copy of this document into your approved manual constitutes an acceptable means of compliance with this requirement.

  • Appendix A - Accountable Executive Selection Flow Chart
    (You will be referred to Appendix D of TP 14343 - Implementation Procedures Guide for Air Operators and Approved Maintenance Organizations)
  • Appendix B - Accountable Executive Selection Question List
    (You will be referred to Appendix E of TP 14343 - Implementation Procedures Guide for Air Operators and Approved Maintenance Organizations)

Compliance Statement

MPS 163

I, _______________________________ Certificate Holder for

_________________________________ hereby appoint

_________________________________as Accountable Executive

I, ________________________ _______accept the responsibilities of this position for (name, position title and signature)

_________________________________ (name on certificate(s))

for the following certificates:


Flight Training

Unit Manufacturer


Approved Maintenance

Organization Air Operator

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