Canadian airlines confirm safety protocols for flight crews

On Jan. 5, 2017, Transport Minister Marc Garneau asked all airlines operating in Canada to confirm their safety protocols are up-to-date, including measures designed to confirm pilots’ fitness to fly.

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It is a criminal offense in Canada for a flight crew to work within eight hours of consuming alcohol or while under the influence. All Canadian airlines must follow the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) to ensure they operate safely.

Transport Canada sets and enforces these regulations; it is the airline’s responsibility to ensure that their employees follow them.

The top eight major Canadian airlines have all since confirmed that they have proper safety protocols in place to deal with alcohol and drug testing. This represents 90 per cent of passengers carried by Canadian air operators.

Canada’s largest passenger air carriers are also required to have a safety management system (SMS) in place to help them identify safety risks before they become bigger problems and ensure that safety is part of their day-to-day culture. This includes having proper procedures in place to make sure pilots are fit to fly.

Transport Canada is tracking the information requested by Minister Marc Garneau to guide discussions at the Fit to Fly Workshop in June 2017.

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The purpose of this workshop is to:

  • Raise awareness on the importance of employee assistance programs;
  • Provide information on practical methods of promoting a healthy workforce;
  • Establish networks for information-sharing and partnerships;
  • Provide health services information; and
  • Discuss the topic of random alcohol and drug testing.

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