Rule Making Canada
The CARAC Process
In Flight 2005, Transport Canada’s five-year strategic plan, "Involving Stakeholders in the Decision-Making Process," is seen as an integral part of the rule making system in Canada. The concept isn’t new; it’s a continuum of the direction Transport Canada has been moving in over the past eight years. There is still a common perception, however, that regulatory activity is arbitrary, based on the whim of the Government and not representative of the industry. In actual fact, the opposite is true. We have gone to great lengths over the past few years to develop a system that is inclusive, consultative, accessible and representative of the entire industry.
The role of CARAC
The driving force behind this change was the creation of the Canadian Aviation Regulatory Advisory Council (CARAC) in 1993, and its role is best defined in the CARAC Charter: "—to increase public access and participation in the rule-making process; to discuss and debate issues from various viewpoints; to bring the various rule making proposals to the notice of senior management at an earlier stage; and to facilitate harmonization with other national aviation jurisdictions."
Nineteenth-century historian Thomas Carlyle once stated, "In the long run, every Government is the exact symbol of its People, with their wisdom and unwisdom; we have to say, Like People, like Government." From Transport Canada’s perspective, these sentiments are quite true. The Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) are reflective of the industry and the people.
Five levels of commitment
So how does CARAC work and what makes it so different? CARAC is comprised of five different levels, one being the CARAC plenary, a general assembly of all members of the Council.
The Civil Aviation Regulatory Committee (CARC) is comprised of senior executives in Transport Canada and is essentially the decision making body for recommending regulatory decisions to the Minister.
The heart of the CARAC process resides in the various technical committees, as they provide the analysis and recommendations for regulatory activity in the form of notice of proposed amendments to the regulations and standards. A single, dedicated technical committee supports most parts of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs). Aircraft Maintenance and Manufacturing is somewhat different because it has interests in Parts IV through VII of the CARs, and therefore has been assigned specific responsibilities in all these areas.
CARAC Technical Committees may also establish ad hoc working groups comprised of representatives from the aviation community, the government and other interested parties. Their mandate is to develop proposals and recommendations in accordance with the assigned tasks. Finally, there is the CARAC Secretariat, which provides support and management to the CARAC Technical Committees on behalf of the CARC.
The preceding explains the structure of the organization, but it doesn’t explain what makes the CARAC process different from other regulatory frameworks. One of the key principles behind CARAC is that it instills a sense of ownership in the regulations. The industry is actively encouraged to participate in the appropriate technical committee and to contribute comments and ideas pertaining to proposed regulatory initiatives.
Rule making in Canada
Anyone can propose an amendment to a regulation through the Transport Canada regulatory committee. The proposal is promulgated at the CARAC Technical Committee and is either accepted or rejected as a proposed amendment. On occasion, the proposal may be sent to a working group for further discussion and the working group’s report will then be resubmitted to the technical committee. This part of the process operates in much the same way that the ARAC process does in the United States. Once accepted, a notice of proposed amendment will be forwarded to the CARC for approval by the Minister and will then be forwarded for technical drafting.
Standards and regulations
Depending on whether the amendment is a revision to a standard or a regulation, the following procedures will apply. A standard, which does not involve a rule change, will go through a technical and a legal review and will then be published.
A regulatory proposal will also undergo technical and legal scrutiny. It will also undergo a public consultation process and an impact assessment will be provided. Consultation is achieved through the publication of the proposed amendment to the regulations in the parliamentary publication, Gazette I. The general public is given a 60-day consultation period, after which, provided there are no objections, the amendment will be published in Gazette II and will, after 30 days, become law.
Regulatory change used to take years to accomplish and was achieved with minimal industry consultation. The process has been accelerated significantly with the advent of CARAC and is very much a reflection of the industry.
Plato once said: "The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men." The point is, the industry, through an effective regulatory mechanism, has the opportunity to contribute to the regulatory climate in Canada. Hence, lack of participation is a matter of individual choice and not due to the failure of the system to provide adequate opportunities for comment and participation.
Transport Canada has changed the way it does business. We need and encourage the industry’s input in the development of regulations and standards that are not only workable, but also reflective of the changing requirements of the aviation industry in Canada.