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Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications

Wednesday May 29, 2019, 19:45 pm

Bill C-97, Part 4
Division 9 Subdivision I,
Divisions 11, 12, 13 and 14



  • Mr. Chair, esteemed members of the Committee, thank you for the invitation to appear before you this evening.
  • I would like to begin by sharing a few points on the history of the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada, and then briefly describe who we are, what we do, how we do it, and the resources we need to deliver our mandate.

History

  • In 1982, the Dubin Commission of Inquiry published its report on aviation safety in Canada.
  • The findings of Justice Charles Dubin led to new legislation (Bill C-36) which amended Canada’s Aeronautics Act to include Part IV - the Civil Aviation Tribunal.  An Order in Council established the Civil Aviation Tribunal in June 1986.
  • The purpose of the Tribunal, at that time, was to fulfil the essential role of providing an independent review of enforcement and licensing actions taken by the Minister of Transport in Canada’s aviation community under the Aeronautics Act.
  • In 2003, the Tribunal’s mandate was expanded to include the marine and rail sectors, and it now includes the international bridges and tunnels sector, and the motor vehicle sector as well.
  • In June 2019, the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada will celebrate its 33-year anniversary.

Legislation

  • Currently, the Tribunal’s jurisdiction is expressly provided for in the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada Act and 10 federal Acts that impact Canada’s transportation sectors.
  • New and emerging legislation expected to impact the TATC relates to:
    • marine wrecks;
    • abandoned, dilapidated, hazardous vessels and salvage operations;
    • motor vehicle safety standards and recalls; and
    • the regulation of unmanned air vehicles.
  • The amendments to the Pilotage Act proposed in Bill C-97 also represent a new area into which the Tribunal’s jurisdiction would extend. These amendments reflect the need to ensure that an independent and expert review mechanism for licensing and enforcement action is available in the pilotage field.

Who we are

  • The Tribunal is comprised of 12 full-time employees and 43 part-time members located across Canada who serve as presiding officers and adjudicators.
  • Full-time staff here in Ottawa include the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson (both Governor in Council appointments), and 10 public servants who form the Tribunal Secretariat and provide legal, registry, editing and administration services.
  • Our 43 part-time members are GIC appointees who are selected based on their knowledge, experience and expertise within their respective transportation sectors.
  • The number of part-time members corresponds to the number of cases the Tribunal expects to receive within each transportation sector in the coming years, the highest number being in the aviation sector. 
  • The Tribunal is in the process of hiring seven new bilingual part-time members, which will bring the total number of members up to 50.

What we do

  • The TATC provides an independent review process for those affected by administrative and enforcement actions taken in the national transportation sector by the Minister of Transport and the Canadian Transportation Agency.
  • Hearings are conducted orally and the affected parties can, by request, avail themselves of a two-level hearing process: that is, a review hearing, followed by an appeal hearing if they are not satisfied with the outcome of the initial review.
  • The Tribunal adjudicates matters that have serious impact on the livelihood and operations of Canada’s transportation community.  Given its structure and process for conducting hearings, the Tribunal is readily accessible to the community.
  • During fiscal year 2018-2019, the TATC received 162 new requests for review and appeal – the highest amount since 2013 – and conducted 46 hearings, and we are anticipating a further increase in operational activity due to our expanded mandate.
  • The hiring and training of new part-time members will ensure the Tribunal is well prepared to handle the increased case load.

How we do it

  • “Quality decisions delivered to parties in a timely manner” is the hallmark of the TATC.
  • The Tribunal conducts itself in an open and impartial manner consistent with procedural fairness and the rules of natural justice.
  • The TATC falls within the Minister of Transport’s portfolio. As the Chairperson, I report to Parliament through the Minister.
  • The Tribunal’s credibility is based on its cadre of part-time members.  The Chairperson assigns members to preside over hearings based on their knowledge, experience and expertise in their respective transportation sectors. 
  • At the conclusion of a hearing, the Tribunal may confirm or dismiss the Minister’s decision, substitute its own decision, and in some cases, refer the matter back to the Minister for reconsideration.
  • The Tribunal aims to serve decisions to parties within 90 days of hearing completion. 

Resources

  • Tribunal operating costs are based primarily on our full-time staff positions and the number of hearings carried out on an annual basis by our members.
  • The Tribunal’s current operating budget requirement is just over $2 million.

Conclusion

  • Canada’s transportation sectors are continuously evolving in response to new and emerging technologies, improved safety and risk assessment methodologies.
  • The Transportation Appeal Tribunal will continue to fulfill the vital role of providing an independent and impartial adjudication of administrative and enforcement actions taken by the Minister in Canada’s transportation sectors.
  • Mr. Chair, this concludes my remarks. I would be pleased to respond to the Committee’s questions.