The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) is Pleased that the B.C. Supreme Court Ruling Affecting Aviation Liability Supports UCTE Positions on Safety Management Systems (SMS) Implementation

Feb 07, 2011, 14:16 ET from Union of Canadian Transportation Employees

OTTAWA, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ - "The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) is pleased that the recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling (2010 BCSC 1744) supports much of what we have been saying about our concerns with Safety Management System (SMS) implementation," stated National President Christine Collins.

The ruling came about when Transport Canada resisted amendments to a lawsuit brought about by the surviving spouses of a pilot and his passenger killed in a helicopter crash in 2005.  The amendments sought to include liability allegations against Transport Canada given that this department had delegated Ministerial oversight powers to a private contractor under the current SMS regime.

UCTE represents Transport Canada airworthiness inspectors and, according to Collins, "we have been saying for more than five years that SMS at Transport Canada is not being implemented with the full safety of the public in mind."  In 2009, UCTE published its own Aviation SMS Policy recommendations entitled 'What's not Right and Why Change is Necessary'. One of the key recommendations is that Transport Canada should not be delegating Ministerial powers to private contractors or Associations, especially those that have a clearly identified conflict of interest.

"We need significantly more government oversight of contractors, not less, especially over private contractors who are allowed to certify the airworthiness of aircrafts under Transport Canada delegation," noted Collins.

"This case speaks to the critical need to have sufficient numbers of highly trained and experienced  inspectors that work for Transport Canada, with the authority and delegations to oversee all private sector safety activities," concluded Collins. This is essential to ensure the safety of the travelling public.

UCTE will follow closely the hearings that are slated to begin in May of 2011, now that the additional liability allegations against Transport Canada have been allowed to stand.

The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) is a Component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).  UCTE represents over 8 000 members working at Transport Canada, the Transportation Safety Board, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Canadian Coast Guard), airports, private employers, NAV Canada and the Parks Canada Agency.

SOURCE Union of Canadian Transportation Employees