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Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR) are changing to align with international standards.
For air operators, this means complying with new competency-based TDG training requirements that came into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, as well as preparing for the revised regulations that could be enacted as soon as they are published in Part II of the Canada Gazette.
Miranda Friesen is a former Transport Canada dangerous goods inspector and founder of Verity Dangerous Goods Consulting Inc. in Surrey, B.C.
As a recognized expert in the field, she specializes in creating dangerous goods operations manuals and training programs.
This past May, Friesen partnered with the flight management software experts at Cirro by AirSuite Inc. in Thunder Bay, Ont. The two companies collaborated to develop a new web-based TDG compliance package, the Cirro + Verity TDG Module.
In an interview with Skies, Friesen provided background on the initiative.
“A key regulatory shift is the recent change to dangerous goods training that is mandated by ICAO’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air,” she said.
“These changes apply to all UN contracting States, including Canada, for air operators who perform both international and domestic operational activities. The focus of the changes has transitioned from a training course, exam, and the issuance of a training certificate by the operator, to the inclusion of an additional practical component. Do employees know how to perform their DG tasks from the practical standpoint? Operators are now required to ensure their personnel have the necessary knowledge and skills to complete their DG tasks.”
Since the beginning of this year, air operators have been required to submit their updated dangerous goods manuals and training programs to Transport Canada to demonstrate that they have integrated these competency-based changes into their operations.
A competency-based training program consists of a course syllabus and TDG training course based on an employee’s specific dangerous goods tasks, as well as a structured knowledge exam and a practical assessment to evaluate competency in performing these tasks.
Friesen said her company has experienced an uptick in inquiries from air carriers of all sizes and operational scopes, as Transport Canada ramps up its TDG oversight inspections. TDG has always been a complex topic and there are many questions surrounding the ICAO-specified changes.
Set to launch in early November, the Cirro + Verity TDG Module is designed to help Canadian air operators comply with the regulations while streamlining the associated record-keeping.
Mutual clients will have access to DG manuals, competency-based training integrations, a digital DG database, DG acceptance workflows, additional DG tools, resources, and record-keeping.
“AirSuite has made a significant investment in this partnership and the development of this new module. Spearheading this partnership has been a top priority,” said Michael Kleywegt, CEO of AirSuite.
The Cirro + Verity TDG Module will be offered as part of the company’s full suite of online flight management tools for mutual clients.
“Verity has been submitting competency-based training programs for operators and associated procedures for the past year, and they have been approved by Transport Canada,” said Friesen.
“Through Cirro, mutual clients gain the additional benefits of seamlessly integrating their employee training course certificates and records into Cirro’s company training library. The TDG Module serves as a centralized platform, effectively tracking required information and allowing management to access training completion records at their convenience.”
Since May, Friesen has been working with Cirro’s senior software developer to integrate Transport Canada-approved Verity DG content with Cirro’s digital TDG workflow. Operators can follow along as they conduct their flight activities, with regulatory requirements integrated into the digital system to assist with compliance. The module is continuously updated and works online or offline, as well as being compatible with all device types.
“The digital module has been designed to document the transport of DG items on planned flights, on an ongoing leg or for multiple legs, to demonstrate that the carrier has prepared the information properly as required by the regs,” explained Friesen.
“An inspector can walk in, and the operator can pull up any of the required documentation.”
The partnership with Cirro furthers Friesen’s goal of educating and training operators on the TDG Regulations and the promotion of aviation safety.
“Together Cirro and Verity will ensure that the TDG Module processes are continuously updated, as there are further regulatory changes coming on the horizon,” she said.
Within the next year or possibly two, Transport Canada is expected to introduce revisions to Part 12 of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, which pertains to air operations.
“These amendments will have a very significant impact on air operators,” concluded Friesen. “The amendments include changes to aerial work, fire suppression, limited access, consumer commodity requirements, record-keeping, etc. But this is down the road. Right now, as operators are looking for help to have their manuals and training programs updated to meet the ICAO requirements, it’s a good idea to plan ahead so they are ready for the upcoming changes to the air regs when they come into effect.”