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COVID-19 Lockdowns Easing in Several Provinces - but Its Not Over Yet by a Longshot

Even as some Provinces ease the lockdown restrictions, it is unclear what affect this will have on the helicopter industry this summer. The broad definition of essential services will allow us to provide a limited range of services, but the social distancing requirements that will form part of each province’s phased return-to-business plans, will likely be the biggest barrier to a return to full-scale operations. What’s more, the inevitable spikes in the infection rates for individual provinces or business sectors that disregard the precautions, will result in a return to lockdown procedures in some provinces or business sectors. I’d like to suggest that you document your PPE, protocols and procedures for protecting your passengers and crew members – so that your operation is not accused of falling in to this category.

It is interesting to note that the Prime Minister has recently signaled that he will leave it up to the Provinces to choreograph a phased return to business, allowing them to impose restrictions based on their individual circumstances.  In the meantime, HAC continues to press the Finance Minister and various other Ministers for a Financial Relief package that will capture helicopter operators – and not just the airlines. Oddly, day-to-day issues continue to distract HAC from Coronavirus-related problems - including Class D; Labour Code amendments; RPAS Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) operations; and most recently, hoisting-related issues. HAC is asking the government to postpone the implementation and consultation on any non-Coronavirus related regulatory issues while our industry struggles to survive the pandemic. HAC has also focused on prodding Transport Canada to allow operators to install temporary Cabin-Cockpit barriers on a Minor-mod basis to minimize the potential for transmission from asymptomatic passengers, to crew members. We have been working with the Flight Training & Licencing Committee to plan a phased return to flight training operations – with social distancing in mind.  Under normal circumstances we would be ramping up our November Convention plans, but your association is currently considering its options in these uncertain times, on the occasion of HAC’s 25th Anniversary, no-less. Stay tuned to our Newsletter and Bulletins for more information, as it becomes available. Please contact me on my cell (613) 884-1422 or by email at fred.jones@h-a-c.ca, anytime.