Strategic Plan 2016-17 to 2020-21

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Building a safer future for Canadians


In 2015, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) celebrated its 25th anniversary. Since its creation in 1990, the TSB has investigated thousands of transportation occurrences, always with the same goal of advancing transportation safety. We achieved this by identifying risks and safety lessons, and then communicating these lessons to the public and those who can effect change. We can be proud of our past successes—many of which have helped change operating practices, equipment designs, or the laws and regulations governing the transportation industry in Canada and around the world. However, this milestone is also an opportunity to take stock and look at the future challenges we will face in years to come. It is an opportunity to build upon our rich and successful legacy, and harness it for an even brighter future.

Looking forward with the bigger picture in mind, it is clear that the world has evolved over the past 25 years. The transportation industry has also changed significantly, and so have the expectations of Canadians. It is therefore important for the TSB to analyze all these changes and to adapt to the new reality. This Strategic Plan aims to ensure that the TSB continues to be relevant and effective in fulfilling its mandate—it is a blueprint that will enable the TSB to adapt and grow to better carry out its mandate to advance transportation safety.

The TSB Strategic Plan for 2016–17 to 2020–21 is the path to the outcome and results we collectively want to achieve. It will allow us to concentrate our attention and energy in a common direction by identifying the priorities that will be the focus of our efforts. It also highlights the values that will guide us in the accomplishment of our work and the management of the organization, in addition to providing benchmarks against which we will measure our success. This Strategic Plan is also a valuable communications tool to let Canadians know where we are going and how we plan to get there.

Our mandate

The TSB performs a key role within the Canadian transportation system. Our mandate provides Canadians with an organization entrusted to advance transportation safety by

  • conducting independent investigations —including, when necessary, public inquiries —into selected transportation occurrences in order to make findings as to their causes and contributing factors;
  • identifying safety deficiencies as evidenced by transportation occurrences;
  • making recommendations designed to reduce or eliminate any such safety deficiencies; and
  • reporting publicly on our investigations and related findings.

Our mission

Our mission is a formal public statement of the TSB’s purpose. It sets our organization apart from all other organizations.

We conduct independent safety investigations and communicate risks in the transportation system.

Our vision

Our vision is a statement of what we strive to be. It defines what we believe is an achievable aspiration for the TSB over the next five years.

To be a modern world-class organization that evolves and adapts as we strive to influence changes that advance transportation safety.

Our strategic outcome

Our strategic outcome is the long-term and enduring benefits to Canadians that stem from the TSB’s mandate and vision. It represents the difference the TSB intends to make for Canadians within its own sphere of influence.

Independent investigations into transportation occurrences contribute to making the transportation system safer.

Our values

As federal public service employees, we are guided by the enduring public service values—respect for democracy, respect for people, integrity, stewardship, and excellence. We at the TSB also place a particular emphasis on our own core values, which are of the utmost importance to the successful achievement of our mandate.


We are committed to treating all individuals and organizations with consideration, courtesy, discretion, and fairness.


We actively share and exchange information to advance transportation safety.


We maintain and promote a positive and proactive safety culture.


We are guided by honesty, impartiality, propriety, and accountability for our actions and decisions.


We maintain a highly skilled and knowledgeable team of professionals through leadership, innovation, and commitment to continuous improvement in the delivery of our products and services.

Our strategic objectives

Over the next five years, the TSB will work towards being a modern, world-class organization that can evolve and adapt effectively as we strive to influence changes that advance transportation safety. This vision will be achieved by focusing on four strategic objectives: serving, improving, modernizing, and updating. This four-pronged approach provides a clear framework to guide our investments and activities for the next five years. As we continue to investigate occurrences in order to advance transportation safety, concerted efforts will be made to adjust the organization, including the way it conducts its business, to ensure that the TSB continues to be relevant and effective in fulfilling its mandate in the future.

1 - Serving

We will continue serving Canadians by conducting thorough investigations and safety studies, identifying risks, communicating lessons learned, sharing information openly, and advocating for changes that advance transportation safety.

This will be accomplished through the implementation of four strategies:

A. Ensuring the timeliness and quality of investigations and safety communications

We will implement a robust project management methodology for all our investigations. We will increase the number of factual updates during investigations. We will improve the quality and timeliness of our investigation reports. We will implement a tracking system for all safety communications. We will implement a time reporting system to help with the management of our human resources

B. Participating in the Open Government Initiative

We will continue to improve the management of our information. We will improve the quality of data in our modal occurrence databases. We will make more information and data available to the public through our website and the Open Data portal. We will clearly identify what information cannot be made available publicly and explain why.

C. Refining our communications products

We will implement evaluation strategies for our target audiences to provide feedback on our communications products. We will review and adjust our communications products in light of the feedback received. We will continue to review and refine our outreach strategy in order to influence key change agents who can take or influence safety actions.

D. Engaging our stakeholders

We will continue to seek feedback from our stakeholders. We will engage stakeholders in discussions on key safety issues. We will engage stakeholders in safety studies. We will ensure the timely renewal of our memorandums of understanding with other governments, departments, and agencies. We will explore other opportunities for collaboration with key stakeholders while maintaining our independence.

2 - Improving

We will improve our core business processes and products in order to ensure continued relevance, efficiency, and effectiveness in a constantly evolving world.

This will be accomplished through the implementation of two strategies:

A. Revising our investigation policies, procedures, and tools

We will implement our new Occurrence Classification Policy. We will review and, where required, update all other existing Board policies and guidance. We will identify other areas where Board guidance is required and develop suitable Board policies. We will implement new processes to automate the capture of occurrence data. We will define and implement unique and tailored investigation processes and timelines for each class of occurrences. We will review and improve our safety analysis methodology and work tools. We will accelerate the review and updating of our Manual of Investigations.

B. Revising our investigation reports

We will share information publicly on all reported occurrences. We will define and implement different and tailored investigation reports for each class of occurrences. We will explore ways to expand the distribution and reach of our investigation reports. We will review all forms of safety communications and make adjustments where appropriate

3 - Modernizing

We will modernize our workplace to ensure that we have the best people working together in teams, make smart use of modern technologies, and achieve the best possible outcomes with efficient, interconnected, and nimble processes, structures, and systems.

This will be accomplished through the implementation of four strategies:

A. Becoming a learning organization

We will improve internal communications across the organization. We will create opportunities for greater employee consultation and engagement in decision making. We will develop and implement succession plans for all management positions. We will increase our investment in employee learning and development to ensure a skilled workforce. We will develop and implement a comprehensive multi-modal investigator core training program. We will implement formal evaluation processes for investigations, as well as for business plan projects. We will promote learning from the collective experience through the sharing of best practices and lessons learned across and outside of the organization.

B. Leveraging technology

We will ensure that we make full and effective use of available tools and systems. We will manage all our information records electronically. Where appropriate, we will use government-wide shared tools and systems. We will encourage employees to examine and try out new tools, technologies, and applications. Where appropriate, we will acquire and implement these new tools, technologies, systems and applications to facilitate our work and improve efficiency. We will dispose, replace, or upgrade all obsolete equipment, systems, and applications.

C. Streamlining corporate policies and processes

Where appropriate, we will adopt and implement Government of Canada common processes and shared services. We will review and update our corporate policies and procedures, using a risk-based approach, to reduce the administrative burden wherever possible. We will engage and consult end users in the review and update or the development of new policies, procedures, forms, and systems.

D. Updating our facilities

We will review and update our business needs for office, laboratory, and special-purpose space. We will downsize our facilities where there is excessive space. We will explore options for our Head Office and Lab accommodations. We will invest in the modernization of our facilities to provide our employees with a productive work environment.

4 - Updating

We will seek to update our legislative and regulatory framework to ensure that they are appropriate in the context of the evolving transportation industry and expectations of Canadians.

This will be accomplished through the implementation of three strategies:

A. Developing an action plan for the implementation of locomotive voice and video recorders (LVVR)

We will collaborate with key stakeholders to clearly define the safety benefits of LVVR. We will work with Transport Canada to identify potential solutions and formulate an action plan. We will assess the implications of the action plan on the other modes of transportation. We will provide advice to the Government on moving forward.

B. Making adjustments to the TSB Regulations

We will assess the implementation of the 2014 TSB Regulations and identify issues to be addressed. Where appropriate, we will make adjustments to the TSB Regulations.

C. Reviewing and updating the CTAISB Act

We will conduct a detailed review of the TSB’s enabling legislation. We will identify potential amendments. We will develop a detailed proposal to update the CTAISB Act and present it to the Government.

Achieving the plan

This Strategic Plan sets out the objectives we will pursue in the 2016–17 to 2020–21 period and details the high-level strategies we will implement to achieve the stated objectives. We will use this plan to define our annual priorities and work plans. Specific action items will be identified by the senior management team and described in detail in the annual Business Plan. Resources will also be allocated to specific projects or initiatives on an annual basis. We will achieve our shared vision by harnessing the passion, dedication, and teamwork of all employees and Board members.

Measuring our success

The success of the Strategic Plan will be measured by the level of transformation that we observe. In essence, we should be able to see positive change both internally and externally. Our organization should be a vibrant, modern, and stimulating place to work with a high level of employee engagement. Our products and services should be effective tools to compel change agents to implement timely measures to reduce risks to the safety of the transportation system.

On an annual basis, we will define key, short-term projects and activities in both the Report on Plans and Priorities and the Business Plan. We will then assess results against the specific project deliverables and milestones. Results will be reported in the TSB Annual Report to Parliament and the Departmental Performance Report.

Our comprehensive Performance Management Framework will continue to be used to track the achievement of results and to measure the organization’s success in fulfilling its strategic outcome and vision. Performance information will be collected through various internal sources, as well as through formal and informal mechanisms to obtain employee and external stakeholder feedback. This will include both quantitative and qualitative information. Short- and long-term results will be measured and reported upon annually in the TSB Annual Report to Parliament and the Departmental Performance Report.

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