Transport Canada issues its State Safety Program- ICAO has “audited” others—BEST PRACTICES ???

CAAs with SSPs
Share this article: FacebooktwitterlinkedinFacebooktwitterlinkedin

ICAO safety cornerstone is SMS

Each Country is to implement its own State Safety Program

 ICAO audits SSPs but does not appear to be sharing BEST PRACTICES

Transport Canada recently[1] (see below) issued its State Safety Program (SSP). This is the cornerstone document in ICAO’s global preeminent safety regime; an SSP sets the goals, structure and processes for each Member State’s implementation of THE state-of-the-art safety discipline—Safety Management Systems (SMS).

If ICAO sets up a standard to which its Members must adhere, its Monitoring and Observation organization will audit or assess the countries which determine their salaries. Here is its statement of their reviews’ purpose:SSPIA performance

The State Safety Programme Implementation Assessment (SSPIA) is a performance-based activity that falls under the framework of the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA). Through the programme, ICAO assesses the level of maturity of a State Safety Programme (SSP) by conducting a systematic and objective review of the State’s implementation and maintenance of its SSP.

That lengthy description (6 separate steps) defines how the SSPs of each Member assessed will be categorized:

  • 0: Not present and not planned;
  • 1: Not present but being worked on;
  • 2: Present;
  • 3: Present and effective; and
  • 4: Present and effective for years and in continuous improvement.

Then the ICAO paper explains what it will do after it has completed a number of these SSPIAs:

What does MO do to support States’ preparation and readiness to undergo an SSPIA?

In support of States’ preparation for an SSPIA, MO has initiated two main measures:

      • SSPIA Workshop – Similar to the USOAP CMA workshops, the SSPIA workshop aims to provide valuable information to States on how the SSPIA is conducted, including its methodologies, processes and tools.
      • SSPIA Q&A Sheet – The Q&A sheet aims to provide brief answers to the most common queries that MO receives from States, and this will be posted on the OLF shortly.

One of the core principles of SMS is sharing data and lessons among peers—air carriers, OEMs, repair stations and GOVERNMENTs. The ICAO explanation of SSPIAs’ outcomes does not mention any feedback about the lessons learned and/or best practices of the SSPs which have been subject to their scrutiny. The UN body intends to use its assessments to educate unaudited Members about how best to pass the test, but that single outcome (there may be others) does not maximize these points of improvement—not very SMS.

SSPIA results


Transport Canada Publishes New Aviation Safety Program

by Gordon Gilbert

– September 21, 2021, 11:42 AM

Transport Canada's SSP

In accordance with the recommendations in Annex 19 of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Transport Canada(TC) has published a state safety program (SSP). Annex 19, Safety Management, was originally released in 2013 and contains the basis for an SSP intended for adoption by the organization’s member countries.

Canada’s SSP follows ICAO guidance very closely, grouping its components into four categories: safety policy; safety risk management; safety quality assurance; and safety promotion. The plan is designed to apply to all private and commercial operators, maintenance personal and facilities, flight and ground training companies, airframe and component manufacturers, and airport operations.

One of the most important elements of the SSP is its emphasis on operators having a safety management system (SMS). Over the last decade, Transport Canada has been applying SMS requirements to segments of its regulated companies in the aviation, marine, and rail sectors.

While Canada strives to be compliant with Annex 19 requirements, the SSP concedes that more work is needed to support SMS adoption by other [than commercial] operators even though many have voluntarily adopted SMS programs. Currently, SMSs are required for airline, commuter, and most air taxi operators, but are only recommended for private aircraft operators.


[1] The TC website did not make it clear whether this was its first publication of its SSP.


sms entities


Share this article: FacebooktwitterlinkedinFacebooktwitterlinkedin

6 Comments on "Transport Canada issues its State Safety Program- ICAO has “audited” others—BEST PRACTICES ???"

  1. The article states that SMS is required for all operators except private, this is not correct. Current in Canada only CAR 705 Airline operators and AMO’s who provide services to 705 operators are required to have SMS. 702, 703 and 704 operators have no mandate to adopt SMS.

  2. Thanks for the correction. The words you reference are in text from TC’s announcement.

  3. ICAO does in fact share best practices related to the implementation of SSP. The Safety Management Implementation (SMI) website ( was initially launched in 2018 and serves as a repository for the collection and sharing of practical examples and tools related to safety management implementation to complement the ICAO Safety Management Manual (Doc 9859). States have been invited to nominate a focal point to submit examples via an ICAO State letter dated 19 April 2018. Many examples submitted by Transport Canada as well as other Civil Aviation Authorities are posted on the website.

  4. Thank you, Ms. Gnehm, for your correction. That sire does appear to include the lessons. “The ICAO explanation of SSPIAs’ outcomes does not mention any feedback about the lessons learned and/or best practices of the SSPs which have been subject to their scrutiny,” was correct; the SMI was not referenced.

  5. Just in case you didn’t see the latest version of the US “State Safety Plan”. Thanks to the AVS team that updated the plan prior to my retirement on June 30th.

  6. Ali Bahrami, thanks for the update.

Leave a comment