By Carlos DaCosta – IAM Canadian Airline Coordinator
On April 2017, the IAM made a presentation to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (SCOTIC) regarding Aviation safety concerns our members are experiencing in the air transport sector in Canada. The IAM received a response from Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau on October 18, 2017 and was very disappointed.
The IAM’s submission dealt with two separate areas of concerns: Safety Management Systems (SMS) and Airport Pre-board Screening. http://www.iamaw.ca/?s=submission+to+Standing+Commitee+on+Transport
In regards to SMS concerns, our members have told us of specific concerns they are facing: 1- no efficient tracking of SMS issues reported to their company, 2- the SMS process seems to get stuck in the investigation process forever leading to impression that no issues are dealt with, 3- lack of resolutions to issues reported and lack of communications from the company on resolved issues by their company.
Our recommendations were clear in that Transport Canada must get involved instead of taking a backseat to the SMS process. They must investigate more regularly and do spot checks of complaints filed from beginning to end, to ensure the procedures were being followed by airlines in Canada.
The second recommendation made was for the Transport Canada to develop a better Whistle Blower process so that maintenance personnel can report serious concerns without retribution.
Finally our last recommendation was for a neutral body to conduct a sample survey across Canada to find out what Technicians think of the SMS process in place at the airline or company they work for in order to correct any problems found.
In regards to Airport Pre-board screeners concerns, we raised 4 issues: 1- Hidden X-ray machine test results conducted by NAV Canada, 2- Interference by airport personnel into Screeners trying to perform their duties at the airports, 3- Cleanliness of X-ray machines and passenger areas where they are being screened, 4- Harassment and abuse towards security screeners by passengers and employee’s entering their workplace at the airport.
Our recommendations were directed at Transport Canada and CATSA to ensure all test results be shown to the Health and Safety Committees and that they deal with the other 3 concerns raised in order to resolve them. The issue of harassment and abuse although not an extreme level yet, needs to be addressed immediately. Airport Screeners have a very important and stressful job to perform to ensure public and passenger safety. There must be measures introduced to curtail this practice immediately before it escalates out of control.
Marc Garneau’s response to all of the submissions made by all stakeholders, including the IAM, was very disappointing. Basically he agreed with all of the IA’s concerns, but rather than review the recommendations and correct some of the issues raised, he proceed to explain how the Government already has a process in place for several years so therefore there is no need to improve upon them.
In reality why have SCOTIC spend time and money listening to all the stakeholders concerns and recommendations if you are going to ignore them.
We are very disappointed by the Liberal Governments attitude and clearly their response shows that they don’t care or want to address the issues raised by any Canadians during this Aviation Safety Study.
What a waste of taxpayer’s time and money!