The sole aim of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is the advancement of transportation safety in the marine, pipeline, rail and air sectors.
The TSB conducts independent safety investigations and communicates identified risks in the transportation system to those persons or organizations best able to effect change to convince them to take remedial action. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.
The TSB has various ways of communicating safety deficiencies.
The Watchlist identifies the safety issues investigated by the TSB that pose the greatest risks to Canadians.
Each issue identified on the list is supported by one or more of the safety communications described below. In each case, actions taken to address these risks to date have been inadequate, and industry and the regulator must take concrete steps to eliminate them.
The Watchlist is amended as current safety issues are addressed and new ones emerge.
The Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act specifically provides for the Board to make recommendations to address systemic safety deficiencies posing the highest risks to the transportation system and, therefore, warranting the highest levels of regulatory and corporate attention.
The Act requires that federal ministers provide formal responses to the TSB describing the action taken or planned in response to its recommendations. The Board also makes recommendations to other stakeholders, and although the Act does not require them to do so, the Board does ask these other stakeholders to respond, which they usually do.
The Board assesses responses to recommendations according to the extent to which the underlying safety deficiency has been or is being addressed (see the Assessment rating guide).
Safety concerns are expressed in final investigation reports. A safety concern focusses on an identified unsafe condition for which there is insufficient evidence to validate a systemic safety deficiency, but the risks it poses warrant highlighting. A safety concern provides a marker to the industry and the regulator that the Board has insufficient information to make a recommendation, but that as more data and analysis become available it will return to this unsafe condition if it is not redressed.
Safety advisory letters
Safety advisory letters are concerned with safety deficiencies that pose low to medium risks, and used to inform regulatory or industry stakeholders of unsafe conditions. A safety advisory letter suggests remedial action to reduce risks to safety.
Safety information letters
Safety information letters are generally concerned with safety deficiencies posing relatively low risks, and are used to inform regulatory or industry stakeholders of unsafe conditions that do not require immediate remedial action. Safety information letters are used to pass information for the purposes of safety promotion or to support or clarify issues that are being examined by a stakeholder.
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