At the CARAC table


Part IV personnel licencing meeting.

Transport Canada called a CARAC Part IV Personnel Licencing Committee meeting for May 10, 2007. This was the first Part IV meeting since March 2005, when Language Proficiency Ratings were on the agenda.

COPA’s representative to CARAC Part IV is staff member Adam Hunt. This Part IV meeting featured an assortment of 26 Notices of Proposed Amendment (NPAs) put forward by TC. Many were administrative in nature and were dealt with quite quickly, while others were more substantive.

Many of the NPAs dealt with changes required to introduce the new booklet format pilot licence. The new licence will have a five-year validity period and amendments to the CARs were required to reflect this.

Several of the NPAs were to introduce the words into the CARs that will require a photograph on the new licence for both pilots and air traffic controllers.

During early talks between COPA and TC on the subject of the licence photograph, the initial plan was that licence holders would be able to either submit a passport photo or go to a Transport Canada Centre (TCC) to have a photo taken. The NPAs state only that a passport photo must be submitted, with the signature of a guarantor on the back.

It seems that while the TCCs are set up to take licence photos they are for the AME licence and the format is completely incompatible with the new passport style pilot and ATC licence. Therefore the only option for pilots and air traffic controllers will be submitting a passport photo taken within the last 12 months.

The list of eligible guarantors will be similar to the current list for passport photos, but will also include many other people who will be permitted to vouch for the resemblance of a photo to the licence holder. The actual list is still pending.

One of the NPAs specifies that "except for temporary flight crew documents, no person shall exercise the privileges of a flight crew permit or licence that is not in the booklet format, after March 05, 2008."

TC will be sending out letters shortly requesting all licence holders submit the required passport photos. This means that anyone who fails to do so will be grounded after that date, although there will be extensions or temporary licences available if TC does not get all the new format licences out in the mail well before that date.

Due to early COPA input into the new licence process there will be no cost to pilots for this initial issue of the new licence or for subsequent five-year renewals, beyond the cost of getting and submitting a passport photograph.

Another amendment proposed affects the Language Proficiency Rating previously reported. ICAO had originally recommended that pilots be allowed fly if they qualified with a level four, five or six rating. ICAO also recommended that the level four rating expire after three years and the level five after six years, with the level six rating good for life.

Upon looking closely at the issue the TC/Industry Study Group that has guided this issue, decided that levels four and five could be combined. This combined rating, labeled "operational", will expire after five years, so as to have the same period as the licence itself. The level six rating will remain as a "lifetime" rating. As previously reported existing licence holders will receive a rating automatically with the initial issue of the new licence, based on TC file data.

Most of the other amendments were not controversial and so all the agenda items were completed in one day.

CARAC is the process whereby TC consults with the aviation industry over proposed amendments to the CARs. Being a member of COPA means that you have a voice at the table, where COPA staff members represent you. Through CARAC and other representation initiatives COPA and its members help shape the way the CARs look and what is expected from pilots and aircraft owners.