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House of Commons adopts motion to enhance Canada’s airport firefighting regulations

December 18, 2023

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has marked a significant development in their efforts to elevate air passenger and fire fighter safety at Canada’s major airports.

This follows the House of Commons’ recent endorsement of a motion advocating for stronger airport firefighting regulations.

IAFF applauds House of Commons’ endorsement of airport safety motion

Motion M-96, initiated by B.C. Liberal MP Ken Hardie, addresses the inadequacies in the current Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) concerning airport firefighting.

The motion urges the Canadian Government to align these regulations with the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Key improvements proposed include mandating rescue operations as a core responsibility of airport fire fighters and ensuring their capacity to reach all operational runway areas within three minutes.

This motion, introduced in September and influenced by the IAFF’s lobbying efforts, gained the House of Commons’ approval with a 211-112 vote.

Members of Ottawa Airport Local 3659 and Ottawa Local 162 from the IAFF observed the proceedings from the gallery.

MPs voice support for improved airport fire safety standards

Prior to the vote, the IAFF actively sought support from key MPs, culminating in the motion’s successful passage.

This outcome reflects a majority consensus among MPs representing a broad spectrum of Canadian citizens on the necessity for governmental action on this issue.

During the debate, MP Hardie expressed gratitude towards his fellow MPs who supported the motion and emphasized the need for addressing this long-neglected issue.

He highlighted the discrepancy between Canada’s existing aviation regulations and the ICAO standards.

Bloc Québécois MP Louise Chabot, participating in the debate, underscored the urgency and simplicity of the regulatory amendments proposed by the fire fighters, emphasizing their vital role in enhancing overall safety.

B.C. NDP MP Alistair MacGregor reaffirmed his party’s endorsement of Motion M-96, stressing the importance of meeting international safety standards and providing fire fighters with adequate resources.

Efforts to strengthen firefighting regulations at Canadian airports

In March, during the 31st Canadian Legislative Conference, delegates lobbied MPs and Senators to bolster Canada’s airport firefighting regulations.

The IAFF also held discussions with federal Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez in early December, furthering their agenda to improve safety measures.

FSJA Comment

The House of Commons’ recent adoption of Motion M-96 represents a pivotal moment in the ongoing effort to enhance air passenger and fire fighter safety at Canadian airports.

This development, influenced by the persistent advocacy of the International Association of Fire Fighters, signifies an alignment of political will with the need for improved safety standards in aviation.

The motion’s focus on aligning Canada’s regulations with international standards, notably those of the International Civil Aviation Organization, sheds light on existing gaps in the country’s approach to airport safety.

The diverse support from various political parties and the active participation of IAFF members reflect a collective recognition of the urgency and necessity of these changes.

As the government moves to implement these measures, it is expected to lead to a more robust and globally compliant aviation safety framework in Canada.

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