From Atop Parliament Hill
By ALPA Staff
ALPA’s Canadian members are represented in Ottawa, Ont., through engagement with parliamentarians, government officials, and industry stakeholders. The Association’s reputation as the world’s largest aviation safety and security organization is actively promoted to decision-makers and aviation influencers through regular meetings with department officials, participation at parliamentary committee hearings, and through industry partnerships and networking.
Continued advocacy ensures that the concerns and priorities of the airline piloting profession are reflected in legislation, regulatory changes, and/or policy decisions that impact aviation safety and security throughout all segments of the aviation community.
During the past year, there has been considerable advocacy and representation activity regarding federal legislative and regulatory initiatives affecting Canadian airline pilots and the airline industry.
ALPA continues to build upon its existing relationships while forging new ones. The Association regularly engages with Transport Minister Marc Garneau to further pursue strategic priorities, including flight-time/duty-time regulations, UAS/UAV policies, unsafe laser usage, nonpassenger screening/RAIC, user fees and taxes, Safety Management Systems, and legislation affecting Canadian pilots.
ALPA also continues to have ongoing discussions with Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour Patty Hajdu to address other important issues affecting ALPA members such as representation/collective bargaining and pilot supply.
In addition, the Association engages regularly on behalf of its Canadian members with the Canada Industrial Relations Board; the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority; the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service; NAV CANADA; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada; and the Transportation Safety Board.
Bill C-4―An act to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act, and the Income Tax Act
On June 19, 2017, Bill C-4 passed and received Royal Assent. The bill removes the mandatory secret-ballot vote implemented by Bill C-525 and restores the bargaining agent certification and decertification procedures to the former card-check model. The bill also repeals the reporting requirements for labour organizations and trusts introduced in the Income Tax Act by Bill C-377. This was welcome news to ALPA regarding ongoing and future organizing endeavours.
Bill C-49―An act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other acts regarding transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts (the Transportation Modernization Act)
This omnibus bill, introduced in the House of Commons on May 16, 2017, by Minister Garneau, contains legislative changes that primarily affect the rail and aviation sectors.
Regarding the aviation sector, the bill proposes to create new regulations that mandate the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) develop a passenger bill of rights that would include plain language about carriers' obligations and how to seek compensation/file complaints. The regulations will create standards for treating passengers regarding flight delays, cancellations, and overbookings, including appropriate compensation. C-49 also proposes to increase the percentage of voting interest that non-Canadians may own and control in an airline while retaining the airline’s Canadian status and establishes specific limits related to such interests. A new process for authorizing joint ventures between air carriers, which takes into account competition and wider public-interest considerations that establish clear time lines for rendering a decision, is also contained in the proposed legislation.
Of interest to the aviation sector, the bill amends the Railway Safety Act to require the installation of locomotive voice and video recorders (LVVRs) in locomotive cabs, with prescribed limits for the use of data obtained through LVVRs.
C-49 is currently in the House of Commons with suggested amendments from the Senate. Members of the House of Commons will consider accepting or rejecting the amendments, at which point the bill will be sent back to the Senate for consideration. The bill will likely pass and receive Royal Assent before Parliament’s summer recess.
During the Senate process, the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications conducted a lengthy and thorough study of the bill, with a large number of stakeholders invited to the various meetings to provide expert witness testimony and submissions. Capt. Dan Adamus (Jazz Aviation), ALPA Canada president, was invited to comment on behalf of ALPA and the Canadian piloting profession. His comments focused on captain’s authority in regards to a passenger bill of rights and on ALPA’s position regarding image recorders on the flight deck in the context of the installation of voice and video recorders proposed for locomotives in the legislation.
Fatigue Management (flight-time and duty-time regulations)
On July 1, 2017, the federal government released its proposed update of fatigue management regulations for the Canadian airline industry in Canada Gazette I.
The Safer Skies Coalition, which represents approximately 9,000 Canadian pilots, was formed in May 2017 to inform and influence the decision-making process to improve and strengthen the federal government’s flight-time and duty-time regulations. The coalition delivered its response to the government’s proposed regulations on Sept. 29, 2017, after months of meeting with federal government officials and parliamentarians.
The coalition’s activities include a reception for parliamentarians on Parliament Hill; an ongoing Saferskies.ca ad campaign that began in spring 2017; a House of Commons petition calling on the Transport minister to protect the safety of passengers, flight crews, and the public by amending the proposed flightcrew fatigue-management regulations to reflect the coalition’s concerns; and ongoing meetings and discussions with parliamentarians and government officials regarding pilot fatigue.
The government has signaled to industry that final regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette II this June. Although several of the proposed changes are a marked improvement over the current fatigue regulations, it remains to be seen in the Gazette II version of the regulations whether a sufficient number of ALPA’s outstanding concerns have been addressed.
For more information about the coalition and its advocacy activities, visit www.saferskies.ca.
CTA hearing into tarmac delays
Late last summer, the CTA held a public oral hearing in Ottawa as part of its inquiry into the tarmac delays involving two Air Transat flights on July 31, 2017, at Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport. During the proceedings, the CTA considered Air Transat’s proper application of its tariff during the incidents and whether Air Transat’s applicable tariff provisions were reasonable.
Adamus appeared before the inquiry to address and reinforce captain’s authority. He discussed the role of the captain and his or her ultimate responsibility for the safety and security of the passengers and crew during the operation of a flight, including during tarmac delays.
Study on aviation safety
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, and Communities conducted a study on aviation safety in Canada. The study examined specific themes and subjects such as personnel issues, enforcement and monitoring of legislation, equipment and infrastructure, flight operations, accident intervention, and airport security. Adamus appeared before the committee to provide witness testimony.
On the horizon
With the next federal election set for fall 2019, ALPA is advancing its pilot-partisan agenda in Ottawa by making its collective voice heard through engaging with Members of Parliament, government officials, and industry stakeholders. The Association will continue to ensure that ALPA is seen as the leading advocate and representative for the Canadian professional airline pilot.