YELLOWKNIFE – Canada’s far-flung Arctic communities rely on air connections, but a lack of proper equipment and inspections is undermining aviation safety in northern parts of the country.
“A series of tragic, preventable air crashes show that federal action is needed,” said New Democrat Transport critic Olivia Chow. “Advanced safety equipment and urgently needed inspectors are lacking–it’s clear that the Conservative government has not got the job done.”
Recommendations from the independent Transportation Safety Board (TSB) are routinely ignored by the Conservative government, leading to outdated and insufficient safety regulations. Conservative foot-dragging on implementing the Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (TAWS) is a prime example, according to the NDP.
TAWS technology prevents aircrafts from crashing into terrain and has been mandatory in the US since 2000. In Canada, the life-saving measure is only now being adopted, and will be phased in over the next 5 years.
In Canada, the life-saving measure is only now being adopted, and will be phased in over the next 5 years.
Worse, the Auditor General recently reported on a lack of qualified inspectors preventing the proper implementation of existing regulations.
“More than additional 100 pilot inspectors are needed for mandatory checks,” said Chow. “With an inadequate number of inspectors, a reluctance to invest in modern safety technology like GPS-based RNAV landing approaches and a drift towards de-regulation, many safety infractions go undetected.”
Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington, the New Democrat critic for Northern Development, condemned the hands-off approach taken by federal Conservatives.
“Too many lives have been lost,” added Bevington. “It’s time for the federal government to take action and make air safety in Canada’s Arctic a priority.”