Presentation to the President of the Queen's Privy Council
The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C, M.P.

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Kathleen Fox
Chair, Transportation Safety Board of Canada

Jean L. Laporte
Chief Operating Officer, Transportation Safety Board of Canada

October 2016
Ottawa, ON

The TSB: Who we are

  • Created in 1990 by the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act
  • Operates at arm’s length from other government departments and agencies
  • Reports to Parliament through the President of the Queen's Privy Council
  • Approximately 220 employees
  • Annual Budget of about $29M

The Board

  • Up to five Board members, including a Chairperson
  • Currently have 2 full-time and 2 part-time members
  • J. Clarkson term ended in August 2016
    • position now vacant
  • J. Hincke term ends in April 2017
  • Process currently underway to fill the vacancy

TSB mandate

To advance transportation safety in the air, marine, rail and pipeline modes of transportation that are under federal jurisdiction by:

  • conducting independent investigations
  • identifying safety deficiencies
  • identifying causes and contributing factors
  • making recommendations
  • publishing reports

It is not the function of the TSB to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

The TSB in a nutshell

  • The TSB has full discretion to determine which occurrences will be investigated and how/when investigation findings will be made public
  • Conducts about 50-75 independent safety investigations each year
  • Communicates safety deficiencies – often during the course of an investigation
  • Participates in foreign investigations
  • Seeks to be a modern world-class organization that evolves and adapts as we strive to influence changes that advance transportation safety

Our operations span the country

  • The Head Office is in Gatineau, Quebec.
  • The Laboratory is in Ottawa, Ontario.
  • Regional offices located across the country allow investigators to quickly reach accident sites.
    • Vancouver, British Columbia
    • Edmonton, Alberta
    • Calgary, Alberta
    • Winnipeg, Manitoba
    • Toronto, Ontario
    • Montréal, Quebec
    • Québec, Quebec
    • Halifax, Nova Scotia

Independence of the TSB

  • The TSB has full discretion in determining which occurrences will be investigated and how / when investigation findings are made public.
  • TSB final reports and safety communications are not subject to external revision or approval.
  • We must guard against any perception of political interference in our investigations and reporting.
  • We interact directly with your office
  • Information is not normally provided about ongoing investigations or unpublished reports
  • Question Period notes and other specific briefings are not usually provided to the Minister
  • For rare TSB-related questions raised in the House, the TSB may provide a brief account and factual information relevant to the occurrence / issue and confirm its involvement
  • Questions about the TSB, its investigations and other activities should be directed to the Chair of the TSB

Liaison with the Minister

We interact with you for:

  • Administrative Requirements:
    • Report tabling in Parliament
    • Estimates and Treasury Board Submissions
    • Delegation instruments
    • Legislative / Regulatory changes
    • Board member appointments
  • Minister’s Awareness:
    • High profile accidents on breaking news – confirmation of TSB involvement
    • High profile or sensitive announcement / release
    • Parliamentary committee appearances

Relationship with Transport Canada

  • On-going communication
  • Exchange of information and training
  • Collaboration on joint projects and studies
  • Collaboration on outreach to industry
  • Keep at arm’s length on active investigations
    • Minister’s observer
  • Normally provide 48 hours advanced notifications and briefings
  • No involvement in policy decisions and rulemaking

TSB safety communications

In addition to our investigation reports, we have:

  • Statistical publications
  • Safety information letters
  • Safety advisory letters
  • Board safety concerns
  • Safety recommendations
  • Watchlist


  • The Board issues recommendations to eliminate or reduce validated safety deficiencies.
  • Will generally do so for the BIG problems – where there is a systemic risk and where the level of risk is high.
  • The Act states that a Minister has 90 days to respond to TSB recommendations.
  • Board recommendations are not binding but we seek to persuade through sound scientific work and compelling arguments for change.

Assessment of responses

The Board assesses the ministerial responses to determine whether the risk has been or will be reduced, and classifies it as being:

  • Fully Satisfactory
  • Satisfactory Intent
  • Satisfactory in Part
  • Unsatisfactory
  • Unable to Assess

Responses are re-assessed on a regular basis to monitor progress.

Responses to recommendations

Board Assessments of Responses to Recommendations from 29 March 1990 to 31 March 2016

  • Unable to Assess 0.4%
  • Unsatisfactory 4.9%
  • Satisfactory In-Part 11.8%
  • Satisfactory Intent 4.4%
  • Fully Satisfactory 78.4%

TSB aims to increase fully satisfactory responses to 80% by March 2017.

TSB Watchlist

  • What: Key safety issues that need to be addressed to make Canada's transportation system safer.
  • Goal: To increase awareness, stimulate action and ultimately increase the uptake on TSB recommendations.

TSB Watchlist 2014

  • Loss of life on fishing vessels
  • Railway crossing safety
  • Transportation of flammable liquids by rail
  • Following railway signal indications
  • On-board video and voice recorders
  • Approach and landing accidents
  • Risk of collisions on runways
  • Safety management and oversight

Current topics of interest

  • Report recently released on Study of Locomotive Voice and Video Recorders
  • Minister of Transport response to 14 new Air recommendations currently being assessed
  • Watchlist 2016
  • Safety Issue Investigation on Air Taxi Operations
  • Safety management and regulatory oversight
  • Length of regulatory process
  • New five year Strategic Plan
  • Review of program activities and performance results
    • Aviation investigations
    • Marine investigations
    • Rail investigations
    • Pipeline investigations
  • Business case for Head Office/Laboratory accommodation funding