Canadian Minister Garneau introduces new fatigue regulations to make air travel safer

Canadians, visitors and business travellers deserve and rely on fit and well-rested flight crews to move them across Canada and around the world. Transport Canada recognizes that fatigue must be addressed in all modes of transportation and is committed to do all it can to protect the safety of Canadians.

Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced changes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations to improve air travel safety for passengers and flight crews. The changes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations introduce:

– Prescribed flight and duty time limits that respect modern fatigue science and international standards to limit the amount of time a crew member can be on the job; and

– Fatigue Risk Management Systems that will allow operators the flexibility to set flight hours based on their unique operations if they can demonstrate that alertness and safety will not be affected.
The new regulations apply to commercial transport services in Canada, which include:

– major Canadian airline operators (subpart 705 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations)
– smaller and regional operators (subparts 703 and 704 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations).

Since 2015, Transport Canada undertook significant consultations and conducted over 100 meetings with airlines, small air operators, pilots, unions, associations and other industry stakeholders to raise awareness of the upcoming changes to the regulations. Minister Garneau personally met with small air operators, including those who provide essential air services to remote and northern communities to listen and respond to their concerns.

To help the industry deal with challenges they may have in implementing these new regulations, Canada’s major airline operators will have two years to implement the new requirements. Smaller and regional operators will have four years to comply. Transport Canada will support and work in close collaboration with northern and small air operators during the implementation of these regulations.

Transport Canada is also introducing amendments to the Fit for Duty regulations that will prohibit any flight crew member to work when not fit for duty. This includes consumption of alcohol or drugs, mental and physical conditions, and fatigue. The amendments will also prohibit a crew member from working within 12 hours of drinking alcohol, up from the previous limit of eight hours.