Canada’s Federal Court affirms public safety trumps commercial interests

Bell 407 helicopter

Earlier in 2015, the Federal Court heard two days of submissions from Canadian company Rotor Maxx Support Ltd. and the Minister of Transport (click here for link).  The issue: whether the Minister of Transport should be subject to a confidentiality order and injunction preventing the Minister from disclosing that Rotor Maxx had improperly certified helicopter engine and drive train parts.

At the time of the hearing, a temporary confidentiality order was already in place, but Rotor Maxx sought a further, prospective injunction.  To succeed in its injunction application, Rotor Maxx had to demonstrate to the court that there would be irreparable harm to its business that outweighed the Canadian public’s interest in the security of the “flying public”.  In the …

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The Battle Over Passenger/Flight Attendant Ratios: Transport Canada Decisions Ruled Unreasonable

Flight attendant

Until August 1, 2015, the Canadian Aviation Regulations (the “CARS”) required at least one flight attendant for every 40 passengers on board a commercial aircraft.  In 2013, Transport Canada (the regulator of aircraft operators) granted exemptions to several carriers, including Sunwing Airlines, allowing them to operate with a ratio of one flight attendant for every 50 passenger seats.  European and U.S. carriers were already permitted to operate under a 1:50 ratio.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents flight attendants employed by several Canadian airlines.  Over the past few years, CUPE has voiced strong opposition to the exemptions granted by Transport Canada.  As mentioned above, the CARS were amended as of August 1, 2015, and now permit air operators …

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Bond: Training Bond

Pilot

New employees are often subject to probationary periods during which their suitability for employment is evaluated. Probationary periods are defined periods of time (which are often for three months but can be longer) that are established at the beginning of employment. One purpose of probationary periods is to give the employer a reasonable opportunity to determine if the employee is qualified and suitable for the job. They will often provide an employer the ability to terminate the employee without cause and without the normal obligations of providing notice or severance. If a probationary period is longer than three months, the normal notice and severance provisions of the Employment Standards Act apply.

New pilots are often hired subject to probationary periods, …

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New drone regulations expected from Transport Canada in 2016

UAV

In May 2015, Transport Canada sought comments from aviation stakeholders across Canada regarding a Notice of Proposed Amendment on Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones.  For some time, Transport Canada has intended to implement new regulations for certain types of UAVs and their operations. These will replace the current “exemption” scheme, which was intended to be a temporary solution while Transport Canada introduced more rigorous safety requirements and created greater awareness of UAV operators’ legal obligations.

Presently, the Canadian Aviation Regulations (“CARs”) require that a UAV operator obtain a Special Flight Operations Certificate (“SFOC”) from Transport Canada. However, there are certain exemptions to these requirements, the applicability of which depends on two main factors: the weight of the …

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Supreme Court of New South Wales rules that PTSD can be a “bodily injury” under the Montreal Convention

Australian flag

In November 2009, an aircraft operated by Pel-Air Aviation Pty Ltd (“Pel-Air”) flew from Sydney, Australia to Samoa to transport a seriously ill patient and her husband to Melbourne, Australia.  The plane was scheduled to land at Norfolk Island (on its way to Melbourne) to refuel.  It crashed during that leg of the flight and the doctor and nurse who were onboard the aircraft (Ms. Casey and Dr. Helm) were both seriously injured.  They commenced an action against Pel-Air in the Supreme Court of South Wales.

As this case involved an international flight, Ms. Casey and Dr. Helm could only recover damages according to the provisions of the Montreal Convention, an international treaty that exclusively governs such cases.  Courts around …

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Supreme Court of Canada dismisses appeal of pilot in discrimination action against Bombardier

Uncle Sam

Last year, we posted an update about the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to hear an appeal involving Mr. Latif, a Canadian pilot of Pakistani descent.  He alleged that he was a victim of discrimination when Bombardier refused him entry into a pilot training program.  Our blog post (which includes a summary of the case) can be found here.

In short, Mr. Latif, who had 25 years’ experience as a pilot, applied for Bombardier’s training program in respect of a particular aircraft.  Based on a prior decision of the U.S. Department of Justice (under its Alien Flight Student Program (“AFSP”)) to refuse him entry into Bombardier’s training centre in Dallas, Texas on the basis that he was a threat …

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UAVs and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

UAV

The rise in popularity and use of unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs”) has attracted much attention recently. In the last year, we have seen a major uptick in UAV use by private companies. Here in Canada, UAVs have been regulated for some time through federal aviation regulations, but the accessibility of relatively inexpensive UAV technology has led Transport Canada to consider revisiting the regulations to ensure they are keeping pace with current interest and use.

In many industries, both private actors and government bodies are using UAVs in new and innovative ways. Arising from this technological leap forward are a number of new legal issues, particularly in the area of privacy. Pursuant to section 8 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and

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Canadian Government Amends Regulations for Offshore Flights

Image courtesy of num_skyman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Federal Minister of Transport, announced on April 22, 2015 that amendments to the Canadian Aviation Regulations (“CARs”) regarding offshore helicopter operations in Canada would come into force effective on July 21, 2015.  The objectives of these amendments are to reduce the risks associated with offshore operations flights and to bring Canada’s standards in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and industry best practices.  The genesis of these changes arises in response to an earlier loss.

On March 12, 2009, a Sikorsky S-92A helicopter destined for the Hibernia Oilfield crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of N.L. with 16 passengers and 2 crew members on board.  The lone surviving passenger suffered significant injuries while all other …

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Year in Review: CTA Rules on Standing for Discrimination Complaints

Gavel - trans

In its Decision No. 425-C-A-2014, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) directly addressed a person’s right to bring a complaint of discrimination.

In September 2014, Gábor Lukács filed a complaint with the CTA alleging that Delta Airlines’ practices around the transportation of “large (obese)” persons were discriminatory.  A preliminary issue arose as to Mr. Lukács’ “standing” (or “right”) to bring a complaint on behalf of “large” persons, defined by Delta Airlines policies, as being unable to fit in a single seat.

Mr. Lukács argued that it was not necessary for him to be a member of the discriminated class.  Mr. Lukács argued that under s. 111 of the Air Transportation Regulations, the CTA had jurisdiction to hear a complaint made …

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Expanded “no-fly” list coming as part of Bill C-51

Canadian Flag

On January 30, 2015, the Federal Government introduced Bill C-51, also known as the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015.  In addition to amending several existing statutes, including the Criminal Code and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, the bill, assuming it is passed, will enact two new pieces of legislation, one of which is entitled the Secure Air Travel Act.  The Bill received its second reading February 2015, and is currently before a House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

The Secure Air Travel Act provides for the creation of a “no fly” list, which will include the name, any known alias, date of birth, and gender of any person who the Minister of Public …

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