Transport Canada claws back bizav authority from CBAA

 - March 29, 2010, 7:16 AM

Transport Canada plans to take back the business aviation operating certification and oversight functions it had transferred to the Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) in 2005. The change, which John Baird, Canada’s Minister of Transport, announced on March 16, is expected to take effect on April 1 next year. CBAA has been handling administration and management responsibilities under CAR 604–the regulation specifically for business aviation.

“A preliminary regulatory review has been conducted and a decision made to remove the CBAA’s authority to issue certificates,” a Transport Canada spokes-man told AIN. “Transport Canada will take over provision of this service to business aviation operators, enhance surveillance and conduct a complete regulatory review, which will result in regulatory changes to reflect this change in direction.

“This supports Minister Baird’s comments in the House on December 1, when he stated he did not support outsourcing safety monitoring to organizations in the private sector as he considers it to be a core responsibility of government and the department,” he said.

CBAA will still be responsible for certification of business aviation until April 1
next year, but starting next month Transport Canada will step up surveillance of the association’s certification and oversight functions. During this period of transition, Transport Canada plans to conduct a complete review of its own surveillance and regulatory structure for business aviation operations.

One source familiar with the arrangement said this action by Transport Canada has been in the works for more than a year. Complaints about CBAA have reportedly been filed with Transport Canada by some operators, AIN has learned, though no such filings could be found at press time, nor did any of the complainant operators come forward to air their concerns publicly.

In addition, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada last November cited inadequate oversight by CBAA in its final report on a Global 5000 accident in November 2007. In the accident report, the TSB noted that a May 2007 assessment report found that while the CBAA private operator certificate (POC) program was sound, “CBAA was not adequately monitoring the quality of the POC program, specifically the activities of its accredited auditors… It was also noted that there were no records of the CBAA directly monitoring auditor activities.” Further, the accident report stated that CBAA acted “in a manner that could affect the [business aviation oversight] program’s ability to maintain an adequate level of safety.”