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Extensions to PPCs and Medicals

First of all, thank you to all of the operator-members who responded to Transport Canada’s survey on the subject of further extensions to PPCs beyond August 1 2020 – either directly to Transport Canada, or through HAC. A few of you made your submissions directly to Transport Canada – some of you sent HAC and email – and some of you called to chew my ear off on this subject. I most sincerely appreciate the feedback, in all cases.

I must say that some of you were absolutely prophetic when you claimed – in so many words – “We didn’t trust Transport Canada to extend PPCs beyond August 1 2020 – so we trained our people in March”. Well, Transport Canada haven’t declared that they won’t extend PPCs beyond August 1, yet, but it was clear from a recent weekly COVID-19 telecon with Transport Canada, that they were considering “alternatives” to a further extension. Originally, HAC had argued that the first extension should have been to October 31 2020, to take us through the summer and Fall seasons. TC rejected that proposal, in favour of a mid-season August 1 extension, owing to “risk-related concerns” associated with a longer first extension.  They said that they would consider a further extension as necessary, as August 1 approached.  One of alternatives under consideration is a Training-to-Competency solution.  To be clear, HAC has long-supported the idea of training-to-competency, however, the idea that it would be implemented as an alternative to a second extension, during a pandemic, and mid-season is simply inconceivable.

Training-to-competency, at this stage in the season would mean flying a training pilot out to Bush camps in some of the most remote areas of Canada, or interrupting productivity on fires and on other work [that may, or may not materialize] out there this season. Everyone involved in the training, and in the camps, and in the aircraft that are used to move the involved parties, would be exposed to a heightened risk of COVID-19.

HAC and its members took a considerable amount of time to collect information on this subject, and the discussion on the telecon made HAC wonder if TC actually grasped the seriousness of this issue.  You will see from some of the quotes in our submission, that some of our member-operators believe that Transport Canada cannot be trusted to “understand” our industry - and in March, some operators made decisions to proceed with their own training and PPC process on that basis. The discussion that took place on the telecon did nothing to bolster any trust.

All of the same reasoning would apply to the extension of medical certificants, for those that took advantage of the August 1 extension. How could someone possibly find a CAME willing to do a Medical in July, even if they could come off a Wildfire in Alberta, for example? Stay tuned to the HAC Newsletter and Bulletins, for more. 

Read HAC's Submission