Safety management systems (SMSs) are internationally recognized frameworks that help companies identify safety risks and prevent potential accidents. In Canada, SMSs were introduced into federally regulated transportation in the early 2000s.
In terms of air and marine transport, respectively, Canada has complied with the international protocols for developing SMSs set out by the International Civil Aviation Organization in Annex 19 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation and by the International Maritime Organization in its International Safety Management Code. The regulations that govern SMSs in rail transport are those that have undergone the most changes in the last decade. As for road transport, most aspects of motor vehicle usage come under provincial or territorial jurisdiction, and to date, Transport Canada has not required interprovincial or international trucking companies to adopt SMSs.
Transport Canada’s safety management and regulatory oversight has been the subject of several reviews, including by the Transportation Safety Board and by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. These reviews showed that despite the improvements made to SMSs in federally regulated transportation in recent years, some issues remain. Consequently, many air and marine carriers are not legally required to implement an SMS.
Read the full text of the HillStudy: Safety Management Systems in Canada’s Transportation Sector
By Geneviève Gosselin, Library of Parliament