CBAA 2014 impresses in Edmonton
June 19, 2014, Edmonton, Alta. - The Canadian Business Aviation Association’s annual convention and trade show is in full swing in Edmonton this week, and judging by the quality of the educational content on the show’s first day – as well as the CBAA’s commitment to provide members with tools they need to succeed in all aspects of their operations – all signs are in place for a very successful event.
In his opening remarks to CBAA members, president/CEO Rudy Toering talked about his first year on the job and the many strides the association has made over the past few months. “It’s funny how time flies when you are having fun,” Toering said. “My experience has been of respect, commitment, involvement, constructive criticism and guidance and for that, I thank you. I am very pleased to report that we have advanced in our advocacy role. Our efforts over the last year have led to positive outcomes that I would not have conceived of a year ago.”
Toering confessed that he was very “green,” at the beginning of his tenure, and while working with regulators before, he found that there has been a learning curve in getting the objectives of the association across to government. He made specific note of the new 604 regulations and stressed that when he first became involved, he was highly impressed with role the CBAA had made in working with Transport Canada (TC).
The association’s detailed job in defining the correct path was admirable, he said, but Toering added that he was less impressed with how unresponsive TC was during the process and why the association’s reasonable solutions to various points failed to get traction in an effective consultation practice. Most pronounced was TC’s failure to acknowledge the nature of risk in business aviation.
“It seemed like TC was unaware or oblivious to the strong safety record of business aviation (in Canada),” Toering noted. “The bottom line is a lot of hard work has been done by Merlin Preuss (CBAA VP, Government and Regulatory Affairs), in particular, by our board, and members over a period of time. Fortunately, that situation has changed. We have recently enjoyed a high level of co-operation on 604 issues with the minister’s office and TC. We believe we have made significant process in ensuring both the minster’s office and TC, and they now understand business aviation’s exceptional safety record and that this must be a factor in determining the correct regulatory environment. It’s not [by] good luck that we have achieved that.”
Toering added that not all of the key changes to 604 are in the regulations – as many members have pointed out – most notably because of the short time frame. Accidents in rail have taken precedence for TC and have consumed tremendous amounts of labour. The CBAA will continue to work closely with TC in the coming months to ensure business aviation’s concerns are duly noted, Toering stressed. “You can very well see that our work has just started . . . and you can be rest assured we will work to accomplish what we need to.”
Much more on the 604 issue is to be discussed today during the “Government update for business aviation” session with TC’s Martin Eley and the CBAA’s Preuss.