Canada Suggests that Sometimes There is a Better Way then Simply Making a New Rule

At the recent EASA/FAA Aviation Safety Conference, it was the Canadians who offered a glimpse of realism in their comments.

“Sometimes we over promise and underachieve,” admitted Nicole Girard of Transport Canada (the Canadian aviation regulatory authority).

Girard offered a refreshingly candid examination into the philosophy of rulemaking; and explained the importance of having clear goals throughout the rulemaking process.  Her discussion also helped to illustrate why harmonization is important to distributors involved in international markets.

Girard insisted that government regulators need to know what the drivers are for each regulatory plan. She explained that the reguators need to look at industry priorities and use these as drivers for the regulatory plan. “We can’t work in a silo,” she insisted.

“Part of what we are doing at Transport Canada is to scope our projects much earlier and better identify where industry needs government support [to maintain safety].”

“At the end, a rule is not always the best outcome.” She explained that guidance like ‘best practices’ and explanations about how to achieve effective methods of compliance are often preferable to a constraining rule.

Girard concluded by emphasizing the importance of a sound understanding of the intended outcome of each regulatory project.  SUch an understanding allows the government to examine the results of the rulemaking exercise and measure the rule’s affect against the government intent.  Careful elucidation of the intended result can also help government to identify when there are better solutions other than new than regulations.

How does this affect distributors? Girard’s conclusion also reminded the audience of the importance of international harmonization. She explained that a harmonized approach within regulations leads to better reciprocal acceptance of articles and products certified under those regulations, which makes it easier for exporters to get their articles and products accepted in the target importing nation.

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About Jason Dickstein
Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. He represents several aviation trade associations, including the Aviation Suppliers Association, the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association.

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