International collaboration

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is recognized as a leader in the field of transportation safety. The TSB shares knowledge, expertise, and experience with the international transportation community in order to advance and promote worldwide transportation safety.

Foreign investigations

In addition to investigating transportation occurrences in Canada, the TSB also participates in foreign investigations to represent Canadian interests.

When there is an occurrence outside Canada that involves Canadian citizens or operators, or a Canadian-certified product, the TSB can appoint an accredited representative to coordinate the exchange of technical and safety information regarding the Canadian elements.

The TSB can also invite the investigation organizations of other countries involved in an occurrence in Canada to participate in its investigation.

Investigation services

Even when Canadians are not involved in an occurrence, the TSB is often asked to participate in foreign investigations where the responsible agency does not have its own laboratory or specific expertise.The TSB's experts can provide a broad range of services including download and analysis of flight recorder data, mechanical and metallurgical testing, site surveying, photogrammetry, and human factors analysis.Occasionally, the TSB has been delegated to carry out full investigations abroad when the responsible party cannot carry out its own investigation for such reasons as technical capacity or resource restrictions, or if the responsible agency is in conflict of interest.

Backgrounder: Foreign air occurrence investigations

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a United Nations specialized agency, established by States in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention). Annex 13 to the Convention governs international aircraft accident and incident investigations.

Following an accident or incident

The State of Occurrence sends a notification of the accident or incident to

  • the State of Registry;
  • the State of Operator;
  • the State of Design;
  • the State of Manufacture; and
  • ICAO

The States above then

  • acknowledge receipt of the notification;
  • provide any relevant information available to them about the aircraft/flight crew;
  • indicate whether they intend to assign an Accredited Representative to participate in the investigation; and
  • provide their Accredited Representative’s name and contact information.

The lead of the investigation is normally the State of Occurrence, but it may delegate the entirety or part of the investigation to another State, or request additional assistance from another state.

Annex 13 describes the role of accredited representatives and experts as follows:

ENTITLEMENT OF ACCREDITED REPRESENTATIVES

Participation
5.25

Participation in the investigation shall confer entitlement to participate in all aspects of the investigation, under the control of the investigator-in-change, in particular to:

  1. visit the scene of the accident;
  2. examine the wreckage;
  3. obtain witness information and suggest areas of questioning;
  4. have full access to all relevant evidence as soon as possible;
  5. receive copies of all pertinent documents;
  6. participate in read-outs of recorded media;
  7. participate in off-scene investigative activities such as component examinations, technical briefings, tests and simulations;
  8. participate in investigation progress meetings including deliberations related to analysis, findings, causes and safety recommendations; and
  9. make submissions in respect of the various elements of the investigation.
Obligations
5.26

Accredited representatives and their advisers:

  1. shall provide the State conducting the investigation with all relevant information available to them; and
  2. shall not divulge [emphasis added] information on the progress and the findings of the investigation without the express consent of the State conducting the investigation.

PARTICIPATION OF STATES HAVING SUFFERED FATALITIES OR SERIOUS INJURIES TO ITS CITIZENS

Rights and entitlement
5.27

A State which has a special interest in an accident by virtue of fatalities or serious injuries to its citizens shall be entitled to appoint an expert who shall be entitled to:

  1. visit the scene of the accident;
  2. have access to the relevant factual information which is approved for public release by the State conducting the investigation, and information on the progress of the investigation; and
  3. receive a copy of the Final Report.

This will not preclude the State from also assisting in the identification of victims and in meetings with survivors from that State.

Separation from any judicial or administrative proceedings

Annex 13 also states the following:

5.4.1

Any investigation conducted in accordance with the provisions of this Annex shall be separate from any judicial or administrative proceedings to apportion blame or liability.

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