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Flight safety in Canada is plummeting, a confidential UN agency report finds

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) logo is seen in the main meeting hall, in Montreal on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson) The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) logo is seen in the main meeting hall, in Montreal on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
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MONTREAL -

A draft report from a United Nations agency gives Canada a C grade on flight safety and oversight, down from an A+ and far below most of its peers.

The confidential audit from the International Civil Aviation Organization says the country has fallen precipitously since 2005 in three safety areas: aircraft operations, airports and air navigation.

The UN body is recommending that the federal government establish a system to lock in full regulatory compliance by airlines and airports, shore up certification related to dangerous goods and ensure proper training and fatigue management for air traffic controllers.

Ross Aimer, CEO of California-based Aero Consulting Experts, says a shortage of air traffic controllers and a trend toward off-loading safety responsibilities from government onto industry players remain concerns across the continent.

However, University of Manitoba transport institute director Barry Prentice says Canada's flight safety record speaks for itself, with plane accident deaths down in recent years and no major commercial airline crashes in decades.

The government had until Oct. 30 to respond to the agency's draft audit, and a final report is expected in the coming months.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2023.

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