Civil Aviation - Oversight Program Description and Delivery - Fiscal Year 2017 to 2018

Table of Contents


This document has been developed to standardize the presentation on the web of Oversight Program Description and Delivery for 2017 to 2018. This is part of the Oversight Transparency approach being implemented by Transport Canada in early 2019.

Executive Summary

A safe and secure transportation system moves people and goods across Canada and the world, without loss of life, injury or damage to property.

Canada has a safe and secure transportation system because of the rules and laws that the public and industry must obey. These rules and laws include policies, standards, regulations, as well as organized and efficient regulatory systems that:

  • are based on best practices from around the world
  • promote effective, safe and secure transportation and a sound safety and security culture

Transport Canada’s day to day operations, known as an oversight program, ensure that Canadians and the transportation industry obey standards and regulations.

Civil Aviation supports a safe and secure air travel system in Canada through its regulatory framework and its oversight activities. This is under the authority of the Aeronautics Act.

Civil Aviation develops, governs and oversees the policies, guidelines, regulations, standards and educational materials needed to keep air travel safe within Canada’s borders. It creates safety standards for aeronautical products, keeping the standards in line with those of other countries.

Under the act, the Minister of Transport may inspect, audit, and enforce regulations for any:

  • aircraft
  • aerodrome
  • aviation facility
  • premises used to design, manufacture, distribute, maintain or install aeronautical products

Civil Aviation ensures the aviation industry follows rules and laws by issuing licenses and certifications, and carrying out surveillance activities such as:

  • assessments
  • validations
  • inspections
  • enforcement

Surveillance is a core legal tool that helps ensure the aviation industry follows the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and related standards. Through surveillance, Civil Aviation:

  • promotes safety in aviation
  • provides oversight of the aviation sector
  • enforces international conventions
  • provides aviation services and related training to support Transport Canada and other government operations

The Civil Aviation Program has headquarters in Ottawa and has five regional offices across Canada – Pacific, Prairie and Northern, Ontario, Québec and Atlantic. Its operations include:

  • Civil Aviation Secretariat: provides aviation safety information to stakeholders and the public
  • Management Services: provides administrative resources and manages financial planning and the Civil Aviation Information Management System
  • Aviation Medicine: performs medical assessments for licensed staff in air travel
  • National Aircraft Certification: sets rules for aeronautical products designed and used in Canada, assures the safety of the products and approves them, and gives guidance to the aerospace industry
  • National Operations: provides regulatory oversight of national air industry companies through assessments, inspections, audits, and enforcement actions
  • Policy and Regulatory Services: provides advice on developing aviation laws and leads the Canadian Aviation Regulatory Advisory Council
  • Standards: creates and updates standards for airworthiness, safety management systems, aircraft certification, aerodromes and air navigation, and does safety promotion and education
  • Regional operations branches: These branches conduct the majority of Civil Aviation’s work by doing oversight of the air travel industry (such as air carries, aerodromes, flight training units, etc.), through surveillance, service and certification, enforcement, education and emergency response

Civil Aviation is part of Transport Canada’s Safety and Security group, managed by its own Assistant Deputy Minister. In 2015, Civil Aviation divided its structure and added a second director general. One director general leads the Aviation Safety Regulatory Framework and the other leads the Aviation Safety Oversight.

Civil Aviation made this change because it needed more senior management focus on strategic direction and more ability to respond to rapid changes in air travel.

In the regions, five regional directors lead Civil Aviation and report to a regional director general in each region. The regional directors general:

  • report directly to the department’s deputy minister
  • report to the Civil Aviation’s directors general for operations within their region

Regional offices and some headquarter branches are responsible for day-to-day oversight operations. Headquarters supports the regions in their work.

Oversight across regional offices is delivered the same way. The offices below also provide oversight.

Aviation Medicine

This branch was created to enable Canada to fulfill its commitments from the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation. The branch delivers medical assessments for licensing personnel in the aviation industry (such as pilots, air traffic controllers and flight engineers).

The branch does an average of 55,000 medical examinations each year. These are done by 950 licensed Civil Aviation medical examiners across Canada and overseas. Pilots, air traffic controllers and flight engineers move people across Canada and support economic growth. Therefore, the Civil Aviation Medicine branch is a critical link to industry and a vital part of oversight.

National Aircraft Certification

Oversight in National Aircraft Certification is different from operational branches because it focuses on approving aeronautical products and designs and ensuring their safety.

Like the regional offices, this branch does planned surveillance, but the surveillance is only a small part of its oversight work. The work of this branch falls within three main categories:

  • continuing airworthiness
  • certification of aeronautical products and design
  • planned surveillance

National Operations

The branch uses the same oversight tools as the regional offices but with a bigger size and scope. The branch ensures the safety of national air carriers such as WestJet and Air Canada. It also controls oversight for air navigation services such as NAV CANADA. Because air navigation services are located across the country, oversight is done throughout the year to manage the service’s size and scope.

2017 to 2018 Key Areas of Focus

In 2018, Civil Aviation updated its oversight program to improve its services and the overall safety of air travel through an initiative called the Surveillance Program Evaluation and Update Project. As a result of this initiative, Civil Aviation adopted a lean and flexible approach to oversight as part of Transport Canada’s transformation initiatives. This approach included two initiatives: Surveillance 2.0 and targeted inspections. These initiatives were based on recommendations from the Auditor General. These tools balance performance-based and compliance-based oversight, to meet international standards.

The key areas of focus for oversight in 2017 to 2018 were:

  • conducting surveillance of enterprises
  • issuing regulatory authorizations
  • strengthening oversight of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems
  • adopting an improved oversight reporting regime
  • implementing the recommendations from the Surveillance Program Evaluation and Update project

The program continues to evolve and improve to keep pace with the aviation industry.

These initiatives and others support the Minister’s mandate letter as well as Transport Canada’s and government-wide goals to strengthen aviation safety by addressing priority risks for aviation.

Key highlights for Oversight Program delivery and program design change

  • The General Aviation Safety Campaign
    • Launched in 2017 in collaboration with the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), this three-year education promotion aims to improve safety through discussions and national safety seminars
    • Subjects include pilot decision making, pilot proficiency, and best practices
    • The campaign also introduced a website for useful safety information
    • The campaign was developed with input from the aviation community, industry safety partners and aviation experts
    • We plan to continue and expand this safety program in 2019
  • The State Safety Program, which began in 2018
    • Following guidelines set by ICAO’s Annex 19, experts and specialists Transport Canada are working to align our programs with international standards
  • Creation of the National Oversight Office to coordinate programs and standardize oversight planning and reporting
  • Improved consistency of oversight and a balance of risk tolerance across the program, through an integrated forum of subject matter specialists and senior management
  • A national virtual service team for service delivery to allow electronic sharing of work across the country
  • Strengthened regulatory framework for the safe use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (formerly called unmanned aerial vehicles) in Canadian airspace, and to support innovation
  • Advanced opportunities for regulatory changes, education and awareness activities associated with the approach and landing phases of flight, with an emphasis on unstable approaches and runway overruns
  • Changes to regulations, standards, and guidance material related to human performance including fatigue, crew resource management and pilot decision-making
  • A safety promotion and education program aimed at improving pilot training to reduce the risks of loss of control in-flight
  • Support for aviation safety through policy analysis and development of a laser attacks strategy to address the critical issue of hand-held laser attacks on aircraft
  • Promotion of aviation safety through policy analysis and establishing a focus group of representatives from the aviation industry to explore options for improving the use of flight data recording devices
  • Updated regulations, to make more rigorous requirements for using cockpit voice recorders
    • the proposed regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I in December 2017 for public consultation

The total cost of oversight for 2017 to 2018 was $77.7 million. For an overview of total Program Budgetary Financial Resources, or for more information, please refer to the Transport Canada 2017 to 2018 Departmental Results Report.

1. Introduction

Civil Aviation supports Transport Canada’s goal of a safe and secure transportation system through its Aviation Safety Program, its regulatory framework for aviation safety, and its oversight of aviation safety.



Example 1 ...

As part of the regulatory framework, Civil Aviation develops policies, guidelines, regulations, standards and educational materials to advance aviation safety.

As part of safety oversight, Civil Aviation uses certifications, assessments, validations, inspections and enforcement to ensure the aviation industry follows regulations.

Transport Canada defines oversight as:

Activities that support the systematic promotion, monitoring, or enforcement of compliance with Transport Canada requirements governing safety or security and that contribute to departmental strategic outcomes.

The safety oversight is divided into two smaller programs:


Text description
  • Service to the aviation industry: certifying people, organizations, products and their design by confirming that they meet regulatory requirements for a Civil Aviation certificate
  • Surveillance of the aviation system: examining, on a risk and sampling basis, the compliance of industry to the Canadian Aviation Regulations and safety management system requirements through planned or reactive inspections, enforcement action and investigations

Civil Aviation delivers safety oversight through its programs for service and surveillance. It verifies aviation industry compliance through the following core activities:


Text description
  • Certification, which are regulatory authorizations, through determining compliance with regulations
  • Planned, risk-based oversight activities, which are surveillance inspections, planned or reactive, of industry
  • Enforcement and investigations
  • Education, outreach and awareness

The Aeronautics Act gives Civil Aviation the power to conduct surveillance on all holders of Civil Aviation documents. The organization undergoing surveillance must give any requested help to enable the surveillance, and must provide any relevant information.

Oversight delivery is explained below.

2. Operating Context

Canada is one of the original states to sign to the International Civil Aviation Organization. It entered into contract with the organization on December 7, 1944. The organization, along with its 191 member states and organizations, works to develop international standards and recommended practices which states use when developing their own regulations.

Transport Canada, Civil Aviation, is the federal body which oversees the aviation industry and its regulatory framework. The Canadian Aviation Regulations, 1996 were enacted based on the authority of the Aeronautics Act, 1985.

Civil Aviation has approximately 1300 staff distributed between the Ottawa headquarters and offices in each of the five regions.

Several complex factors influence the national air travel system. Civil Aviation supports aviation safety in this large and diverse system through its national aviation safety program, using a regulatory framework and oversight of industry.

The table below illustrates the factors influencing the national air transportation system, with the biggest driver being the aviation industry:

  • Air Navigation Services, operated by NAV CANADA, which is the largest single air navigation service provider in the world
  • 15,000,000 km2 of airspace, managed by NAV CANADA
  • Canada’s aerospace design and manufacturing industry, which is the third largest in the world with $29.8 billion in revenue per year
    • These industries contributed 211,000 jobs to the Canadian economy
  • 36,376 Canadian registered aircraft, the second largest fleet in the world
  • 65,257 licensed pilots
  • 18,155 aircraft maintenance engineers
  • 1,214 approved check pilots
  • 74 design approval representatives
  • 2,361 air carriers (31% Canadian, 69% foreign)
  • 866 approved maintenance organizations
  • 559 certified aerodromes and 1,642 non-certified aerodromes
  • airlines, airports and related services employing 140, 000 Canadians and representing 5% of employment in the North

Aviation is a growing industry worldwide. It is expected to double in size in the next 15 years. This is causing growing industry demands on Civil Aviation.

Technology in the aviation sector is also improving at a rapid rate. For example, we have seen recent advances in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and in aircraft and fuel technology. Civil Aviation is ensuring we stay up to date with the latest technologies so we continue to provide world-class oversight of the Canadian aviation industry.

Regulatory Authorizations: Certification through determining compliance with regulations

Entry to the national civil aviation system is controlled by:

  • The Aeronautics Act
  • The Canadian Aviation Regulations
  • International memorandums of understanding
  • International Civil Aviation Organization standards and regulations

Civil Aviation certifies aviation personnel, organizations, and products and design. “Certification” means all activities related to granting and maintaining permission for people and organizations to operate in the Canadian civil aviation system. Many of these certification activities and services involve inspecting an enterprise, or other verification activities such as:

  • Certification of individuals: providing licenses to pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and air traffic controllers, performing medical assessments of licensed aviation personnel
  • Certification of organizations: certifying aerodromes, issuing operating certificates to air operators and aircraft maintenance organizations
  • Certification of products and designs: approving products and designs, issuing airworthiness certificates to aircraft

These activities ensure all people and products involved in the Canadian aviation industry comply with Canadian regulations and are held to an extremely high safety standard.

As certification activities are usually demand-driven, Civil Aviation uses historical data to predict future demand and forecast levels of activity. Usually, the estimated demand for these activities is based on the entire year, starting from the beginning of the fiscal year.

It is important to note that 2015 to 2016 was the year that Civil Aviation began to report its certification activities, as past reporting requirements focused on surveillance activities. Also, 2016 to 2017 was the first year that Civil Aviation began to report its medical assessments.

Planned, Risk-based Oversight Inspections: Planned Surveillance

Civil Aviation’s surveillance activities can be either planned or reactive. Surveillance inspections are done to assess industry compliance with the regulatory framework, including the compliance of foreign air operators flying to and from Canada.

Surveillance includes all activities associated with the preparation, conduct, and reporting of a surveillance activity. It also includes any action in response to industry non-compliance such as:

  • Review and follow-up of corrective action plans
  • Enforcement action
  • Certificate action

National Aircraft Certification does regular surveillance of the Canadian-registered aeronautical products and Canadian State of Design aeronautical products used throughout the world. It uses a tool called ‘continuing airworthiness’, as reactive surveillance. This involves the organization responding to reported problems with an aeronautical product.

During the Surveillance Program Evaluation and Update, Civil Aviation found that it could have a greater impact by discontinuing planned Safety Management System assessments and shifting these resources to conduct more program validation inspections and process inspections. In 2016 to 2017, Civil Aviation made a temporary change to the surveillance program. It allowed all operational branches, where appropriate, to do process inspections in place of up to 30% of their planned program validation inspections.

The main objective of this temporary change was to increase the inspection capacity to meet the 2016 to 2017 National Oversight Plan by using leaner surveillance methods. This small change increased the efficiency of the program while protecting its integrity and quality. Civil Aviation decided to continue this temporary change into the next fiscal year to get a full view of the effectiveness and efficiency of the approach.

Civil Aviation also introduced a new category of surveillance called targeted inspections. These are inspections on a specific topic, allowing Civil Aviation to better understand system-level risks in the aviation industry.

Planned Surveillance

Civil Aviation plans surveillance activities each year based on enterprises’ risk profiles. These surveillance activities include:

  • Program Validation Inspections – A process of research and on-site review of one or more parts of the Safety Management System or other regulated areas of an organization.
  • Process Inspections – An in-depth review of an organization process used to produce an output to check whether it functions
  • Safety Management System Assessments – A surveillance activity that evaluates effectiveness and level of compliance with regulations
  • Level of Involvement – Applicable to National Aircraft Certification - Civil Aviation's oversight activities of a delegate (organization or person) on a certification project
  • Continuing Airworthiness – Applicable to National Aircraft Certification - Service difficulty reviews, in service investigations, and related corrective actions

Reactive Surveillance

Reactive surveillance activities are an integral part of oversight and are mainly driven by risks. This approach allows Civil Aviation to react quickly to emerging or changing risks in aviation as a whole or as related to an individual operator.

Reactive surveillance be either formal assessments or program validation inspections, but often are process inspections, which are usually focused inspections. It includes all surveillance activities conducted in response to an unforeseen issue (an accident, incident, or increase in an organization’s risk indicator level).

Civil Aviation is increasing our reactive surveillance activities in order to respond more flexibly to changes in risk. The most common reactive surveillance tools are:

  • Unannounced inspections – Done to respond to risk indicators such as accidents or significant changes to an organization
  • Aircraft Ramp Inspections – Safety assessments of foreign aircraft and other inspections
  • Enhanced Monitoring – Monitoring organizations in response to risks or to surveillance activities
  • Corrective Action Plans – Follow-up and verifying implementation after surveillance activities
  • Monitor Minister Delegates – Issuing certificates of airworthiness to newly manufactured or imported aircraft and issuing certificates of airworthiness from delegates that have determined that products comply with design standards
  • Other Activities – Inflight cabin safety and aviation facility inspections, as well as monitoring approved check pilots.

Although these activities are reactive, some of these activities result from Civil Aviation obligations. For example, safety assessment of foreign aircraft inspections. Civil Aviation assigns resources to address this need and a large part of the activities are unscheduled and unannounced.

Enforcement and Investigations

Aeronautics legislation comprised of the Aeronautics Act and the Canadian Aviation Regulations, were developed to promote a safe and harmonized aviation culture for Canadians and the aviation industry. Transport Canada has recognized that enforcement, when required, is a key part of aviation safety oversight.

The Minister may assess administrative monetary penalties in response to a contravention of certain designated Canadian Aviation Regulations. The offender can opt to pay, or request a review before the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada.

Within Civil Aviation, enforcement action involves the submission of a detection notice to Civil Aviation enforcement for processing.

Enforcement actions may include:

  • oral counselling
  • monetary penalties
  • punitive Canadian Aviation Document suspensions and prosecution

“Oral counselling” is an opportunity to provide guidance to a Canadian Aviation Document holder on the need for future compliance. Inspectors can use this option when imposing an administrative monetary penalty or punitive suspension for a contravention is not required, and when the following conditions are met:

  • The contravention is minor and was not done intentionally
  • The contravention has no direct flight safety hazard (even though it may be safety-related)
  • The Canadian Aviation Document holder has no prior related history

Under section 6.9 of the Aeronautics Act, the Minister may also suspend or cancel a Canadian Aviation Document in response to a contravention of the act or Canadian Aviation Regulations.

Contraventions of the act or non-designated provisions of the Canadian Aviation Regulations are prosecuted in the court.

Education, outreach and awareness

TCCA does outreach and education activities to promote safety throughout the aviation industry. This is done in a variety of ways, such as:

  • attending regional air shows
  • attending industry conferences
  • education, awareness, and outreach sessions (such as on the topic of drones)
  • engaging national and international stakeholders
  • media publications and social media presence

Our public website also provides safety information for both inspectors and the flying public.

We are currently conducting a General Aviation Safety Campaign to promote safety within the General Aviation community and educate members regarding best practices.

3. Planning and Costing Assumptions

Costing assumptions

To support oversight, Civil Aviation uses an automated application called the activity reporting and standards system. The system plans and analyzes workload requirements, resource analysis and performance reporting.

The application data, along with historical and current salary and travel costs, is used to estimate the costs of oversight delivery.

For planned surveillance, cost is estimated by using level of effort (in hours) estimates based on Civil Aviation’s National Surveillance Planning Standard (for planned surveillance) multiplied by top hourly rates for each level of inspector. This cost doesn’t include travel. Travel costs are separately tracked and are considered other operating costs.

Estimated travel costs are calculated by assuming two travel days (15 hours) for each inspector on each surveillance activity at an average hourly wage of $50/hour and an average team size of four inspectors. These estimates are also compared against historical costs.

Costs for demand-driven oversight are estimated based on full time equivalents counts from historical performance data. They are extracted from the activity reporting and standards system.

For the temporary program change (30% process inspections), the number of inspectors and days required may vary from 1.5 to 4 person- days depending on the size, complexity, and risk level of the organization. Operational branches were directed to select the lowest risk organizations and then move to higher risk ones, as needed, to achieve the 30% requirement. The risk indicator level and an impact value determine the risk score of an organization. The following section explains more.

Planning Assumptions

Civil Aviation uses a risk based planning methodology to determine how frequently aviation organizations are subjected to surveillance. It then determines resource requirements by assessing each organization and assigning a complexity rating. The rating is used to estimate how resource intensive the surveillance activity may be. When used with the guidelines in policies and procedures, Civil Aviation is able to estimate how much resources are required for the planning year at hand and for the future.

Civil Aviation considers how full-time employee hours have usually been used and what resources are needed to conduct oversight, when determining if resources are enough. When appropriate, operational branches try to use less resources.

To do this, Civil Aviation uses the resource availability form to determine the number of available employee days. The form details the average inspector time available to do surveillance and service activities.

For National Aircraft Certification, planned surveillance is a small part of its oversight. However, resources are determined using the same method above.

Because most of the branch’s work is demand driven, the branch determines other resource demands by analyzing historical trends. Estimations are also based on known certification activities that the industry has announced in advance.

The planned surveillance for National Aircraft Certification follows a risk-based planning method similar to that used by operational branches.

4. Risk Assumptions

Civil Aviation uses risk-based approaches to plan surveillance. It is currently updating the risk-based methodology to take advantage of additional data sources.

In 2017 to 2018, Civil Aviation prioritized surveillance activities based on the following risk factors:

  • qualitative risk assessments from inspectors
  • quantitative risk indicators such as previous surveillance results
  • operator size and complexity
  • type of operating certificate (for example, large airline operator versus small aerial work operator)
  • previous safety record

Civil Aviation used these factors to assign aviation enterprises a minimum surveillance interval for planned surveillance activities. The intervals for scheduled activities ranged from five years, for enterprises with the lowest risk profiles, to annually, for enterprises with the highest risk profiles.

Civil Aviation uses these methods to inspect the following areas of industry:

  • multiple certificate holders
  • air operators
  • aerodromes
  • flight training units
  • approved maintenance organizations
  • manufacturers
  • approved training organizations (Foreign and Domestic)
  • air traffic services providers

Civil Aviation uses reactive surveillance activities to follow up on findings from planned surveillance activities, or respond to new safety information.

With respect to National Aircraft Certification, risk calculations for organizations that fall within the scope of National Aircraft Certification oversight are tracked, monitored and captured through separate means in alignment to ensure program consistency in addressing risk.

5. Considerations and Initiatives to Strengthen Oversight

Civil Aviation Medicine

Surveillance policies and procedures don’t apply to the planning for this branch. Therefore, we’ve provided a brief summary of how resources are spent to show what’s required to sustain the branch.

The branch has only 6 full-time medical officers. A reasonable workload is about 5,000 assessments a year per each officer. The branch is employing about 3.5 full-time equivalents worth of contract physicians. The branch’s has estimated that the workload requires 10 medical officers.

National Aircraft Certification

The National Aircraft Certification’s oversight is mainly geared towards the certification of people, organizations, products and design. It includes all activities related to the granting and maintenance of permission for people and organizations to operate in aviation.

Certification consists of airworthiness engineering organizations, design approval organizations, design approval representatives and authorized people in these organizations.

National Aviation Safety Information Management System

Usually, the system is suspended in January each year to allow operational branches to update their information. This provides a static environment for branches to update and input data. If the system isn’t suspended for the updating, variances can occur which can upset the planning cycle.

Planned Surveillance Tool Adjustments

Civil Aviation initiated a Surveillance Program Evaluation and Update project in late 2016. The evaluation and update team was made up of civil aviation inspectors and specialists with a range of expertise, from headquarters and all regions. The team’s evaluations showed that risk-based surveillance methods need to be redesigned and safety management system assessments should be discontinued as a planned surveillance activity.

Assessments inspect every part of an organization’s safety management system program without considering the organization’s record of compliance or risk profile. These assessments use two to four times more resources than others. Civil Aviation decided that ending the use of planned assessments would allow the program to have a more wide-reaching positive impact on the surveillance program. Civil Aviation will use program validation inspections and process inspections instead. These tools provide Civil Aviation with an acceptable confidence in an organization’s ability to follow regulations.

Targeted inspections

Civil Aviation also introduced a new type of surveillance called targeted inspections. This is similar to an inspection campaign on a specific topic. This approach to inspections provides a better understanding of system-level risks that may merit regulatory action and helps evaluate whether regulations and programs are meeting their goals.

These are inspection campaigns targeted at a specific topic or aviation activity. For example, Civil Aviation may plan to inspect the carry-on baggage control procedures of airlines. This helps to gain a better understanding of how industry is complying with associated regulations across the system. It also helps Civil Aviation determine if the requirements are effective in reducing risk. Civil Aviation inspectors all use the same targeted inspection worksheets to collect both compliance and evaluative data.

This evaluative approach to inspections will allow us to:

  • better understand system-level risks that may merit regulatory action
  • evaluate if regulations and programs are meeting their intended objectives
  • assess if TCCA’s response to a recommendation from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada has effectively managed the original risk

Planning, Reporting and Variances

Before 2017, Civil Aviation reported performance through the National Inspection Plan. This plan has evolved into a National Oversight Plan. It provides a comprehensive overview of all oversight activities Civil Aviation conducts.

This fiscal year, Civil Aviation did a comprehensive analysis to improve planning and reporting for regulatory authorizations and reactive surveillance. Civil Aviation developed methods to obtain quarterly data for these activities and more effective means for reporting in the activity reporting and standards system. Data integrity will continue to improve as more years of reporting are captured under these improved methods. This will bring the forecasting of reactive activities more in line and better reflect fluctuating industry demands.

In addition, at times, surveillance activities may take longer than planned, usually because of complex inspection results, findings and operational demands. As well, organizations may request changes to the date and time of the oversight activity due to their own operational factors such unavailability of key personnel. These factors can create quarterly differences and extend the completion of the surveillance to the next quarter.

As a result of these factors, the operating status of aviation enterprises can change throughout a given year and this a key characteristic of Canada’s aviation industry. Each year a number of enterprises’ certificate(s) become invalid because:

  • The enterprise surrenders its certificate(s) to Civil Aviation and stops operating
  • Civil Aviation suspends or cancels an enterprise’s certificate(s) due to non-compliance with the Canadian Aviation Regulations, or as result of enforcement action

Another factor comes from the change in the surveillance planning system. In the past, annual surveillance planning was completed shortly before the new fiscal year began. In order to have actual, not predicted, surveillance activities and costs listed in the Integrated Planning and Reporting report, the timing of surveillance planning was brought forward to fall of the previous fiscal year. As a result, there is much more time between the planning and the execution of surveillance activities. This means more chance that organizations will have a change in the status of their certificates. In these cases, these results would show an enterprise’s risk level to be lower than anticipated, and therefore the enterprise would not stay in the 2017 to 2018 oversight program.

However, these changes allow Civil Aviation to use additional resources for reactive surveillance, including follow-up activities, ramp inspections, cabin safety inspections and other surveillance activities.

The estimated demand of reactive surveillance and regulatory authorizations are identified based on the entire year, at the beginning of the fiscal year in April. Each planning and reporting cycle creates more reliable historical data in the activity reporting and standards system, better reflecting the decline and growth of industry. For annual forecasting of reactive surveillance, Civil Aviation uses three years of historical data. Each annual forecast will be more precise as yearly improvements are made.

All variances are closely watched and tracked to ensure that as many as possible of the year’s planned activities are completed.

Safety Management System assessments

When conducting Safety Management System assessments, Civil Aviation inspects each and every component of an enterprise’s Safety Management System, without considering their compliance history or risk profile.

The Surveillance Program Evaluation and Update Project found that adjusting how and when Safety Management System Assessments were used would allow the program to increase its impact on safety. The Safety Management System Assessment is still available as a reactive surveillance tool, but is no longer the default.

National Oversight Office and Oversight Advisory Board

The National Oversight Office was established in 2015 to manage delivery and monitoring of the National Oversight Plan. This year, the office:

  • strengthened oversight planning and reporting
  • facilitated nimble, risk-based decision-making
  • helped the program gather data more effectively and report on all surveillance activity

This is reflected by the increase in the reactive surveillance activities reported last year.

With the help of Management Services, the office also reviewed the Activity Reporting and Standards System. In response, Civil Aviation updated the reporting process to collect more accurate data about oversight activities to help the program improve future planning of oversight activities.

The Oversight Advisory Board is an integrated forum that was established to provide access to a range of specialists and senior managers. The Oversight Advisory Board provides guidance to operational branches to ensure Civil Aviation carries out oversight in a consistent, transparent manner. It also enhances Civil Aviation’s ability to make decisions quickly and accurately, especially regarding Canadian Aviation Document cancellations and suspensions. This mitigates the risk of certificate holders not operating within regulatory requirements.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Centre of Expertise

The Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Centre of Expertise was created to assist staff members working on Remotely Piloted Aircraft System related files. The Centre of Expertise is responsible for all operational Remotely Piloted Aircraft System standards. This includes Special Flight Operating Certificate procedures and surveillance.

Transport Canada’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Task Force is responsible for regulations and policy related to this.

6. Oversight Delivery in 2017 to 2018

The delivery of inspections and authorizations will be reported through the Canadian Center on Transportation Data, as per the Oversight Transparency Integration Plan.

The level of oversight delivered and variance explanation will be consistent with the information in the Safety and Security 2017 to 2018 Integrated Quarter Four Program Oversight Delivery dashboard, as approved by each program’s director general.

7. Organizational contact information

Transport Canada welcomes your comments on this report.


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