Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to stand and speak to this as a member of the government. The member who spoke previously said we would be embarrassed to stand and support what we are doing on this bill. I have done it previously on comments directed to the aspects of this bill that deal with national defence and the safety and aeronautics aspects.
It is a pleasure to rise and offer some comments today on behalf of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport.
Bill C-6 is an act to amend the Aeronautics Act. The Aeronautics Act establishes the Minister of Transport's responsibility for the development and regulation of aeronautics and the supervision of all matters connected with civil aeronautics, as well as the responsibility of the Minister of National Defence for military aeronautical activities.
First and foremost, the intent of Bill C-6 is to provide for a modern and flexible legislative framework to further enhance aviation safety and to reflect the needs of the aviation community. The bill will update the act to make it more consistent with other transportation acts.
The standing committee began studying the bill in February and has heard testimony from dozens of witnesses, all of whom have a sincere interest in the safety of Canadians and Canada's aviation industry. I would like to touch briefly on a few of the major issues that were discussed during the study.
One of the amendments agreed to at committee includes a progressive enforcement program, which includes assurances of compliance and notices of violations without penalty. Transport Canada can and will continue to take enforcement action when necessary and audits can still be conducted if required.
With respect to resources, the number one priority within the department has and will continue to be providing effective safety oversight of the industry by allocating resources to those activities that will provide the greatest safety benefit.
It was also made clear at committee that the concept of designated organizations is being considered only for segments of the industry that do not carry fare-paying passengers or are considered to represent a low level of risk in relation to aviation safety. This was covered in an amendment to the original proposal.
Reporting systems were also discussed at length. To encourage voluntary reporting of safety related information, amendments to the act propose a universal, non-punitive, voluntary reporting program, as well as protections for information that may be obtained by Transport Canada when assessing or auditing the internal reporting system of a certificate holder. Data, once de-identified, is available to all for more analysis and distribution.
However, it is important to note that protections will never prevent enforcement action for deliberate and wilful commission of violations for which Transport Canada would have obtained evidence through its own investigations.
Whistleblower protection also formed an important part of this discussion. The amendments put forward are in the spirit of this type of protection, while at the same time holding true to the intent of encouraging the cooperation of employers and employees to proactively work together for safety.
I now would like to take a moment to address the five government motions that we have put forth in order to align Bill C-6. The amendments are all very technical in nature.
First, during committee deliberations, an amendment was introduced to clause 8 to establish a new rule-making authority for safety management systems. However, upon further review, we see that this same authority is already provided for in section 5.39. Therefore, it will create a redundancy in respect to the enabling authority to make regulations regarding safety management systems.
The paragraphs in section 5.39 are much broader and are consistent with the definition of management systems adopted by the committee in the definitions section of the act. It is more logical to keep the enabling authority under section 5.39 because this provision is followed by a series of other provisions dealing specifically with management systems.
Second, there are three motions at clause 12, all of which are editorial in nature and meant to correct inconsistencies between the French and the English. These changes are meant to ensure that both versions have the same meaning and, therefore, equal weight. The purpose of these motions remains consistent with the deliberations at committee.
Our final motion affects clause 49. The intent is much clearer than the proposed NDP motion for this clause and it still meets the intent of the committee, which is to delay by three years the implementation of designated organizations. This motion will also serve to correct the versions of both languages since as presented they do not have the same meaning.
In conclusion, Canada has one of the safest aviation systems in the world. This bill will go a long way toward ensuring that the required tools are in place to maintain and enhance the safety of Canadian aviation systems for the future.
Through due diligence, hard work and cooperation, Bill C-6 is now better than it was when originally introduced to Parliament last year. I want to thank committee members who gave their input and support to this bill. The standing committee has indicated support of Bill C-6 with the recommended amendments.
I would therefore encourage members of Parliament to adopt the motions and recommend the amended bill for third reading.