Review of the Civil Aviation Inspector Community at Transport Canada

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2 Introduction

In recent years major changes have occurred in the aviation sector. The aviation sector has recovered significantly from the downturn of the early 1990s. But more importantly, over the past years, the aviation sector has undergone significant change driven by economic cycles and the restructuring of the government’s management of Canada’s transportation system. This restructuring has been focused on the commercialization and decentralization of government owned and operated transportation assets, such as NAV CANADA and various aerodromes under the National Airports Policy, the economic deregulation of commercial aviation, and bilateral agreements, such as ‘Open Skies’ with the United States.

These changes have led to an important transformation of the sector’s regulatory framework and, as a consequence, the role of Civilian Aviation Inspectors (CAIs) who inspect air operators, the air navigation system, flying schools, and airports for conformity to government standards and regulations. More importantly, these changes have put some significant pressures on the ability of TC to manage recruitment and retention of its CAI population. At the same time there exists among the CAI population a perception that there is a significant compensation gap between the Department and the aviation industry.
In order to define ways to deal successfully with these challenges TC identified a need to undertake a study for the Civil Aviation Inspector (CAI) community within the Department’s civilian aviation program. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP was retained to undertake this review.

2.1 Objectives and Scope of the Review

This review was intended to bring to light specific issues regarding recruitment, retention and compensation practices that arose from an examination of the Civil Aviation Inspector (CAI) community of TC compared to private sector operators that employ people with similar certifications, qualifications, and levels of experience.

Specifically, the review endeavoured:

  • To assess the sources of recruitment and means of retention practiced by the Department for CAIs.

  • To assess the required qualifications and any internal/external training and licensing requirements in comparison to their Department and private sector counterparts.

  • To assess the basic salary and benefits of the Departments CAI’s in comparison to their private sector counterparts.

  • To document any innovative practices and, more generally, any emerging issues regarding the supply and demand of the labour market that the Department draws upon for recruitment.

The scope of the review covers issues pertaining to the CAI community, currently comprising of approximately 356 inspectors, employed by TC as part of its Civil Aviation Program and with the Department’s aircraft services branch.

The Civil Aviation Program and the aircraft services branch have nearly 1,250 employees located in headquarters, five regional offices, and numerous service centres, with a budget of $93 million (1997-98)6. Headquarters determines the Civil Aviation Program’s content, policy, and standards while the regions deliver the program. The notable exception in program delivery is the international and specialized components of the program, international and national flag carriers, which are the responsibility of the large air carrier group (7th Region) co-located with the headquarters function in the NCR and located across Canada in a number of operational bases.
It should be noted that while there are populations of CAIs employed by multi-modal organizations such as the Transport Safety Board, these groups were considered outside of the scope of this study and are not included in our analysis.
As demonstrated in Figure 1: Civil Aviation Organizational Structure, the Civil Aviation Program has eleven service lines at the headquarters function, of which seven are mirrored in the five regional offices across Canada. While the entire population of CAIs was included in our review, the focus of the external interviews and industry salary survey was on the commercial and business aviation (CBA) and general aviation (GA) service lines. It is in these service lines where a majority of CAIs are employed by the Department.

Figure 1: Civil Aviation Organizational Structure
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