How Canada Fell Behind
1996 — CURRENT REGULATIONS COME INTO FORCE
Canada’s current regulations went into effect in 1996. Since then NASA has conducted extensive research on real-life long-haul flights, examining how fatigue affects pilots’ reaction times, decision-making ability, and general alertness. Among other things, they concluded that fatigue sets in more quickly and more severely at night.
2014 — FAA UPDATES U.S. REGULATIONS BASED ON SCIENCE
In 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States implemented updated regulations based on fatigue science. Since that time, for long-haul flights, U.S. pilots have been limited to 9 hours of flight time for daytime departures, and 8 hours at night. They also must have at least 10 hours of rest between shifts, 8 of which must involve uninterrupted sleep. In 2010, the Canadian Aviation Regulatory Advisory Council Working Group began working through Transport Canada to update Canada’s flight-crew fatigue rules. Industry, pilot groups, and the regulator all participated in these discussions, and put forward recommendations based on agreed-upon science.
In 2014, Transport Canada put forward a draft of new regulations after the Working Group’s input. The proposed changes improved existing rules, but still had some gaps, including insufficient limits for long-haul flights departing after 5 p.m.
2015 — CANADA TAKES A STEP BACK
In 2015, Transport Canada changed the draft regulations, making the fatigue rules even weaker, moving away from much of the input from the multi-stakeholder Working Group. They propose 10.5 hours of flight time at night – a full two hours more than science recommends.
TODAY — SUPPORT SAFER SKIES
Today, those flawed aviation fatigue regulations are still in draft form, but time is running out before they come into force.
There is still time for Canadians who care about safer skies to have input before they are finalized.
Canada’s pilots need your support, to ensure that we have rules that make our skies safer — for passengers and crewmembers alike.