Aviation Security – Oversight Program Description and Delivery - Fiscal Year 2021-2022

Table of Contents

  1. 1. Overview of the program, operating context and environment
    1. 1.1 Executive summary
    2. 1.2 Oversight activities
    3. 1.3 Operating context
  2. 2. Considerations and drivers for oversight activities priorities
    1. 2.1 Risks and planning
    2. 2.2 Other oversight activities
      1. 2.2.1 Regulatory authorizations
      2. 2.2.2 Quality control
  3. 3. Oversight delivery in 2021-22
  4. 4. Aviation security contact information
  5. Annex A: Definitions

1. Overview of the program, operating context and environment

1.1 Executive summary

Transport Canada is responsible for Aviation Security in Canada. The department develops, implements, and oversees Canada’s Civil Aviation Security Program. The program manages risks to the Aviation system using a set of policies, regulations and security measures to protect air travel and trade.

The program’s goal is “better security”. This is achieved by:

  • teaching stakeholders about their security requirements and environment
  • promoting a strong security culture within the industry
  • identifying and encouraging the use of proactive security behaviours, practices and innovations
  • building trust and sharing best practices, information and experiences with partners
  • promoting and validating the industry’s compliance with regulations
  • getting feedback from the industry and inspectors to improve the program

1.2 Oversight activities

Transport Canada’s Aviation Security Oversight Program makes sure that these entities comply with Canadian regulations:

  • designated aerodromes
  • primary security line partners
  • commercial air carriers
  • secure cargo supply chain participants, and
  • Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA)

Transportation Security Inspectors inspect these entities across the country. These inspections confirm that security requirements, processes and procedures exist, are implemented and effective. This includes:

  • making sure aerodrome operators have procedures to prevent prohibited items from entering restricted areas, or being used as weapons
  • confirming processes and procedures to respond to threats and incidents
  • confirming security awareness programs exist and security personnel are trained to deal with security issues
  • making sure that passengers, baggage and aircraft are kept secure
  • checking procedures to keep people on the Secure Air Travel Act List from boarding a plane
  • examining and testing methods to screen people, baggage and goods
  • visiting and assessing the security of air cargo facilities, security personnel and training to meet Transport Canada’s standards

Transportation Security Inspectors observe, interview, document, review, test and enforce Canada’s aviation security regulations. Transport Canada also oversees foreign air carriers for on-site compliance and to assess their vulnerability at last points of departure to Canada.

The Aviation Security Technology Division sets performance standards for the security equipment that aerodromes use to check passengers and their belongings. They test and review equipment to check that they comply with Canadian standards.

1.3 Operating context

Canada has around 1,600 aerodromes and thousands of other airstrips in both urban and rural areas. Of these aerodromes, 207 are certified for commercial purposes. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 84 million passengers traveled in Canada annually and each day there were about 2,500 flights between Canada and international destinations, including the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the aviation industry, resulting in reduced air travel and operations.

The aviation industry is heavily regulated. The Canadian Aviation Security Regulations, 2012 sets most of these security requirements. Airlines also need to follow other rules, like the ones in Aerodrome Security Measures and the Security Measures Respecting Air Cargo.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on the delivery of the Aviation Security Oversight Program. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the program has taken on new responsibilities related to the Interim Order Respecting Certain Requirements for Civil Aviation Due to COVID-19.

Throughout the past year, the program moved quickly to make sure the program continued to consistently oversee the sector across all regions, with the health and safety of our Inspectors in mind. The program has had to develop new oversight activities and new ways of overseeing industry, while also making other changes as data and medical advice evolves. The program is still monitoring and assessing the impact of the pandemic, and will adjust, as needed.

2. Considerations and drivers for oversight activities priorities

2.1 Risks and planning

Managing risks is at the core of aviation security. It helps the program set priorities, allocate resources, develop policies and regulations, and oversee the sector.

Aviation is still an attractive target for terrorists, but the threats have become more complex since Transport Canada first established the Oversight Program. Over time, the program has grown to include new regulations and oversight for areas like the Passenger Protect Program, Airport Security Programs, and the Air Cargo Security Program.

As the threat and security landscape evolves, Transport Canada will review and adapt Canadian to manage new and emerging threats, and risks to the security of aviation.

The Aviation Security Program oversees the security of the aviation sector using a risk-based process to prioritize inspections over a 3-year cycle. This process uses threats, vulnerabilities and impacts to assess the risks. From this, around 100 inspections are planned making sure the most attention is given to the areas of most concern.

Oversight plans are made up of both planned and unplanned (reactive) activities. Unplanned activities are done based on risks, or in response to issues that come up. The program continues to adjust priorities based on the operational risk context.

The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to put pressure on the oversight program in 2021-2022. A task hazard analysis has been done to allow us to safely resume more on-site inspections for 2021-2022, but there are still a lot of challenges. Over the next year, the program will continue to make adjustments based on risk, including remote and desktop-based inspections when going on-site isn’t possible.

2.2 Other oversight activities

2.2.1 Regulatory authorizations

In addition to the planned, risk-based inspections, the program does other oversight-related work, like issuing regulatory authorizations, like:

  • Canadian Aviation Documents for secure supply chain program participants, and
  • screening officer designations for screening officers

Transport Canada also issues security exemptions. Headquarters works with staff in the regional offices to develop exemptions based on requests from industry.

2.2.2 Quality control

Every quarter (3 months) regional managers check the quality of the inspection reports recorded in the Transportation Security Information System. Once done, these reports are sent to headquarters for another review.

Then, the Quality and Risk Management Team reviews each regional manager’s submission, and follows up on any issues that needed to be corrected.

3. Oversight delivery in 2021-22

The delivery of oversight activities, such as planned risk-based inspections and reactive inspections, will be reported through the Canadian Center on Transportation Data (CCTD).

4. Aviation security contact information

If you have any questions or comments about this report, please email: aviationsecurity-sureteaerienne@tc.gc.ca.

Annex A: Definitions

Required Field Description
Oversight How Transport Canada promotes, monitors or enforces compliance with our safety and security requirements.
Regulatory authorizations Given when a regulated party (for example, a railway company or vehicle manufacturer) applies for permission to do a regulated activity, or be exempt from it. We may give permission in various forms, including a permit, licence or certification. Transport Canada does not control the number of regulatory authorizations per planning cycle.

A documented, formal examination of industry compliance with Canadian transportation safety and security rules, regulations and requirements. Authorized Transport Canada officials record the results of each inspection. For the purposes of this document, audits are a type of inspection.

*Includes pre-site, onsite, and post-site inspection and oversight activities. Is complete when the inspector submits an approved inspection or oversight activities report. Does not include follow-up action, quality control checks or outreach activities.

Planned, risk-based inspections

All inspections Transport Canada initially commits to doing in a given planning cycle. The SO3 Management Board may authorize updates as needed.

*Include inspections that are announced (and expected), and those that are unannounced. Does not include:

  • estimated numbers of demand-driven activities, such as regulatory authorizations
  • “reactive” or “opportunity” inspections that happen because of a change in oversight
Follow-up activities

Arise from findings of an initial inspection. May include an on-site inspection, requests for more information, or enhanced monitoring.

*Do not include enforcement.

Other activities Oversight activities that Transport Canada did not initially commit to in a planning cycle, and are not a follow-up to an inspection or audit.

Measures we use to enforce requirements and compel compliance. For example:

  • letters of non-compliance
  • directions or orders
  • ticketing
  • notices of violation
  • administrative monetary penalties
  • prosecutions
  • suspensions or cancellations of certificates or authorizations
Education, outreach and awareness How we educate the public, and encourage people and companies to comply with the law (for example: industry conferences, air shows, training, web portal)
Quality control

How we ensure inspectors follow policies and procedures, and complete required documentation. Applies to an entire oversight activity, from inspection, to follow-up, to resolving non-compliance. Supervisors and managers are responsible for quality control.

Each program must have:

  • a documented, nationally consistent way of doing quality control
  • a procedure or set of procedures to ensure inspections follow approved standard operating procedures