< Browse more articles

Treasury Board Secretariat Regulatory Review

As a young pilot in the industry, it always seemed to me that regulations came down from Transport Canada on a stone tablet. Anything I ever wrote to Transport Canada disappeared into a black hole.  As I grew out of my role as a pilot, and into my role as a lobbyist here in Ottawa, it became more evident how changes to the rules that govern our behaviour in the industry take place.

In the HAC Newsletter, I have written before about the different sources of pressure on Transport Canada that drive the Department to make changes to the regulations – including TSB Recommendations; the media; questions in the House; recent accidents; Budgetary constraints; technological advances (i.e. EGPWS); the drive to harmonize with ICAO, the international community, and our neighbours to the south; new types of aircraft (i.e. drones), etc.  What also escaped me entirely as a young pilot were the structural requirements of lawmaking – Canada Gazette I consultation; the Committee for Regulatory Oversight; and Treasury Board’s role in the process of lawmaking, and the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

These committees and processes are intended to provide checks and balances on delegated legislation that allows for increased administrative efficiency – but they are also intended to monitor the diffusion of law-making authority away from parliamentarians to ministers, their staff – and to scrutinize the system when there may be potential abuses of delegated authority.  

Sometimes, we get trapped in-the-weeds, and we need to focus on the systemic problems. That is, what elements of the process have resulted in dysfunctional regulatory decision making. Recently, the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) of Canada has solicited input from industry on the process-related issues, and it’s important that HAC engages in that dialogue when we are given the opportunity.  At the same time, we need to relate the systemic problems back to the nuts-and-bolts issues that affect our day-to-day operations. 

You may be interested in reading a short submission from HAC on the subject. It's like trying to identify why a pilot had a blade strike. Was he/she malnourished; tired; preoccupied with problems at home; improperly trained; under pressure from the customer, etc.? If you can’t identify the reason for the problem – it is likely to occur, again.