Airline confidentiality agreements shows there is serious confusion about Safety Management Systems

    OTTAWA, Feb. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Recent disclosure that airlines are
requesting civil aviation inspectors to sign confidentiality agreements is
part of a new and disturbing trend. As the national union representing
Canada's inspectors, the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees
(UCTE/PSAC) is supportive of any action by its inspector members in refusing
to sign any such confidentiality agreements proposed by the airlines.
    "We are pleased to hear that Transport Canada is also asking inspectors
to refuse to sign such documents. It is plain wrong that anybody in the
airline safety system would even consider such a measure. Somebody at
Transport Canada needs to stand up to the airlines and tell them that the
Minister is responsible for airline safety in Canada... period," says
Christine Collins, UCTE National President.
    UCTE believes that this kind of behaviour from the airlines is
symptomatic of a much broader problem in the way in which Transport Canada is
implementing Safety Management Systems (SMS) for the airline industry. As
there is a clear lack of clarity and direction from the Minister, the airlines
mistakenly think that everyone is working under their SMS licensing
arrangement, including Inspectors working under Ministerial authority.
    "One of the first sentences in the Aeronautics Act states clearly that
the Minister of Transport is responsible for aviation safety in this country.
Transport Canada Inspectors work under ministerial delegative authority. They
are responsible to the Minister and are responsible to the Statute that they
are empowered to enforce. Why the airlines would even feel justified in asking
for such a measure is mystifying to me," says Kerry Williams, UCTE Vice
    UCTE has made it clear to the Minister of Transport that there is a clear
need for direct ministerial involvement in the SMS file at the present time.
The union has requested a meeting with the Minister to work out a common plan
of action on behalf of the travelling public.

For further information:

For further information: and interviews: Christine Collins, UCTE
National President, (613) 296-5583 (cell); Kerry Williams, UCTE
Vice-President, (613) 560-2994, (204) 510-8283 (cell); Dominic Vidmar, UCTE
Communications, (613) 601-2571

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