----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2007 2:15 PM
Subject: Five Worker Deaths: February 28, 2005

 

 

Attention:    Andrew Walasek, Special Assistant to the Minister of Transport

                    Dave Nowzek, Regional Director, Transport Canada Civil Aviation

 

             

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your letters of November 22nd and November 26th respectively. 

Unfortunately, we are highly dissatisfied with your responses.

Once again, you have stated that MJM Air was operating in accordance with CAR 723.16.  If this is indeed the case, we would like to know where the “ground radio station for the purpose of flight following with the air operator” was located.  We would also like to note that through Access to Information we requested proof of the training received by the “flight follower”, but the page(s) was excluded.  This was disappointing, especially in light of Transport Canada’s lack of adherence to its own Frequency of Inspection Policy and the many changes to the MJM operation in the few years immediately prior to the accident – and, of course, the owner’s safety record in the forest industry.

In our letter dated September 16th, we trusted that Transport Canada Civil Aviation Occupational Health and Safety would appoint a Minister’s Observer (Min Ob) to ensure that all safety measures were adhered to in compliance with the Canada Labour Code.  Perhaps our confusion in assuming that the Min Ob would be appointed in conjunction with the agreement with the Minister of Labour comes from the following:

CASI–OH&S hold their delegation from the Minister of Labour, upon recommendation by the Minister of Transport following successful completion of a basic training program.[1]

These Regulations apply in respect of employees employed on aircraft while in operation and in respect of persons granted access to such aircraft by the employer. [2]

The purpose of the Minister's Observer Program is to obtain timely information relevant to the Minister's responsibilities for safety and to contribute to the identification and evaluation of hazards revealed by investigations into aviation, rail, and marine occurrences.[3]

 

This information clearly indicates that CASI-OH&S does have an obligation to investigate for infringements of the Canada Labour Code with respect to non-aviation employees.  Again, my husband, Dave Stevens, was recovered and a cause of death determined.  Furthermore, there were (sound) witnesses to the accident.  The Transportation Safety Boards refusal to interview these witnesses does not negate their existence.  My husband’s death was purely the result of negligence.  As the provincial Worker’s Compensation Board (WorksafeBC) does not have jurisdiction to investigate, kindly explain to us who is authorized to take action, if not Transport Canada.

 

Your letters also imply that the Transportation Safety Board investigation is complete.  This is most certainly not the case.  In a letter dated November 26th, Nick Stoss, the Director of Air Investigations, has informed us that “due to workload issues and our desire to conduct a thorough research of specifications and regulations, along with metallurgical examinations, the Engineering Branch Report has not yet been completed”.  We, therefore, again request that a CASI-OH&S Inspector be assigned to evaluate the due diligence performed by MJM Air, and that we be kept abreast of any and all enforcement actions which are or will be in process.

We are pleased to hear that Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council has discussed the use of floatation devices, however, do not feel that a simple recommendation that life preservers be available immediately during flights taking off from and landing on water, with an advisory recommending that the life preservers be worn” is enough.  As evidenced by this accident, there is seldom time or opportunity to don a life preserver after the fact.  We feel that often, even pilots do not understand the importance of this safety measure.  Therefore, we would like to further recommend that commercial floatplane pilots be required to take an underwater egress course in order to obtain their licences. 

We will look for your prompt response.

 

Stay Safe,

 

Kirsten Stevens

On behalf of the Stevens, Decock, Feast and Bedard Families

492 S. McPhedran Rd.

Campbell River, BC

V9W 5K5

 

 

              

               

               

 



[3] Minister's Observer Program, Part 2.0

 


----- Original Message -----
From: "Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities / Ministre des Transports, de l'infrastructure et des Collectivités" <MINTC>
To: <kis>
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2007 1:10 PM
Subject: Accident investigation


Ms. Kirsten Stevens
kis.ca@telus.net


Dear Ms. Stevens:

Thank you for your correspondence of September 17, 2007, which was further to your previous correspondence to the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, regarding the investigation into the airplane accident that occurred on February 28, 2005. The Minister has asked me to reply on his behalf.

Since receiving your initial correspondence, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has conducted an engineering examination of the engine and propeller of aircraft C-GAQW. The examination to date has not uncovered any pre-existing conditions that would lead to an engine failure. The TSB has informed the families of the deceased of the examination's results.

During the examination, a Transport Canada Inspector was involved as a Minister's Observer. I should clarify that a Minister's Observer is not assigned on behalf of the Minister of Labour.
Rather, the duties of a Minister's Observer are to obtain timely information relevant to the Minister of Transport's responsibilities with respect to the Aeronautics Act and the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

I should note that Transport Canada officials initiated an investigation immediately upon notification of the accident on February 28, 2005. This investigation was carried out under the auspices of the Canada Labour Code and the Civil Aviation Occupational Health and Safety program. The investigation under this authority is for employees of the aviation company involved, and does not include passengers. Unfortunately, due to lack of information, the file was closed on June 20, 2006.

I have noted your suggestions regarding the use of life preservers on seaplanes. You may be interested to know that under the direction of the Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council, two working groups evaluated issues related to the provision and use of flotation equipment onboard aircraft. The working groups recommended that life preservers be available immediately during flights taking off from and landing on water, with an advisory recommending that the life preservers be worn.

Based on the recommendations regarding survival equipment, the advisory material produced will include the recommendation that life preservers be worn on seaplanes, and that seaplane operators acquire life preservers with additional means of signalling, such as those you have suggested, including whistles, dye markers, streamers and personal locator beacons.

I trust that this information clarifies the Minister's position with respect to these matters. Again, thank you for writing.

Yours truly,


Andrew Walasek
Special Assistant - Ontario and Western Canada
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nowzek, David" <NOWZEKD>
To: <kis>
Sent: Thursday, November 22, 2007 1:42 PM
Subject: Civil Aviation Issues Reporting System (CAIRS) File Number NC-2336


> Dear Ms. Stevens
>
> Thank you for your e-mail of September 16, 2007 regarding the aircraft accident on February 28, 2005.
>
> Since receiving your correspondence, departmental officials have advised me that the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has conducted an engineering examination of the engine and propeller of aircraft C-GAQW. The examination to date has not uncovered any pre-existing conditions that would lead to an engine failure. The families of the deceased have been advised of the by the TSB.
>
> During the examination, a Transport Canada Inspector attended as a Minister> '> s Observer. The Minister Observer is responsible to obtain timely information relevant to the Minister of Transport Canada> '> s responsibilities with respect to the Aeronautics Act and Canadian Aviation Regulations.
>
> A Minister Observer is not assigned on behalf of the Minister of Labour. However, I want to emphasize that Transport Canada staff initiated an investigation immediately upon notification of the occurrence on February 28, 2005. This investigation was done under the auspices of the Canada Labour Code and the Civil Aviation Occupational Health and Safety program.
>
> The investigation under this authority, focused on employees of the aviation company involved and did not include passengers. It is unfortunate, however, there were no witnesses to the accident nor any confirmed cause of death of the pilot. Based on this lack of information, the file was closed on June 20, 2006.
>
> As previously stated in my correspondence dated January 18, 2007, The CARs were developed in consultation with the aviation industry in such a manner as to manage the risks to an acceptable level. This does not mean that all risk can be removed. The Type D operational control requirements are intentionally permissive in recognition of the realities that limit communication in some areas of the country. CAR 723.16 dealing with Type D Operational Control does not require the pilot and the operator to be in constant communication with each other, either directly or indirectly through a third party. The regulation requires aircraft equipment that permits a pilot to communicate. It does not require that the pilot-in-command be capable of communicating with a ground station at all times. Such a regulation would seriously hamper aviation operations wherever line-of-sight VHF communications are not possible. The accident aircraft was equipped with a serviceable VHF onboard radio plus an operating cell phone (thereby satisfying CAR 723.16(1)(d)).
>
> I would like to take this opportunity to again express our condolences on your loss and to also thank you for sharing your views.
>
>
>
David J. Nowzek
Regional Director, Civil Aviation / Directeur régional, Aviation civile
Tel: 604-666-8317
......................................................................................................
Transport Canada / Transports Canada
620 - 800 Burrard Street / 800, Rue Burrard, pièce 620
Vancouver, BC (C-B) V6Z 2J8
Facsimile / Télécopieur: 604-666-1175