Backgrounders

Transportation Safety Board of Canada

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

The mission of the TSB is to conduct independent safety investigations and communicate risks in the transportation system.

A transportation occurrence is any accident or incident associated with the operation of a ship, pipeline, railway rolling stock, or aircraft. An occurrence is also any hazard that the TSB believes could cause an accident or incident if left unattended.

  • The TSB consists of up to five Board members, including a chairperson, and has approximately 220 employees.
  • Although TSB's headquarters are located in Gatineau, Quebec, most investigation staff are located in various regional and field offices across Canada, in order to respond quickly to transportation occurrences anywhere in the country.
  • Approximately 4000 transportation occurrences (accidents and incidents) are reported to the TSB each year in Canada.
  • The TSB investigates between two and three per cent of annual reported occurrences by considering whether an investigation is likely to lead to reduced risk to persons, property or the environment.
  • The number of investigators sent to an occurrence site ranges from 1 to more than 30, and investigations can last from one day to several years.
  • Investigations consist of three main phases: the field phase, post-field phase and report production phase.
  • During an investigation, the TSB works with all levels of government, including international governments and regulatory bodies, transportation companies, equipment manufacturers, survivors, witnesses, and operators.
  • The TSB keeps survivors and families informed at various stages of the investigation and may request to interview them to assist in the investigation.
  • The TSB makes available factual information about the circumstances of the occurrence throughout the investigation. Safety information is shared immediately with those who can make changes to improve safety and may take the form of recommendations, safety advisories, or safety information letters.
  • Draft investigation reports are reviewed by the Board and sent to designated reviewers, who are people whose performance, behaviour or products may be commented on in the report, as well as those who may contribute to the completeness and accuracy of the report. After input from designated reviewers is considered and any necessary amendments to the report are made, the Board approves the final report and it is prepared for release to the public.
  • The TSB is guided by various industry standards, as well as internal TSB policies, to ensure that investigations are conducted in a systematic, thorough, independent and unbiased manner.