New flight crew fatigue regulations now in effect

‘Transport Canada’s new regulations align with today’s scientific data, international standards and best practices’

New flight crew fatigue regulations now in effect
New flight crew hour regulations came into effect on Dec 12.

Changes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations to strengthen rules addressing flight crew hours of work for large Canadian passenger and cargo operators came into effect on Dec. 12.

“The Government of Canada is committed to improving the safety of Canadians and to reducing fatigue-related risks in all transportation modes. Transport Canada’s new regulations align with today’s scientific data, international standards and best practices, and respond to concerns raised by communities, pilots and airlines,” said Marc Garneau, minister of transport, when he announced the new regulations in December 2018. “By providing air operators the option to implement Fatigue Risk Management Systems, these new regulations also recognize the unique operations and realities of Canadian air operators.”

Under the new rules, flight crew can work for a maximum of 1,000 hours per 365 consecutive days, down from 1,200 hours under the 1996 regulations. Workers can also work for a maximum of 300 hours in any 90 consecutive days and 112 hours in any 28 consecutive days.

The maximum flight duty period has also been set for nine to 13 hours, based on start time of day/sectors flown. This is down from 14 hours for aerial workers and air taxi operators and 13 hours, 45 minutes for commuter operations and airline operators under the 1996 regulations.

Rest period has also been set at 12 hours or 11 hours plus travel time if the worker is resting at home, or 10 hours if the worker is in suitable accommodation provided by the air operator.

Other changes are:

Time free from duty

Previous regulations (1996)

  • 36 hours / 7 days; or
  • 3 days / 17 days; or
  • 3 periods x 24 hours / 30 days
  • 13 periods x 24 hours / 90 days.

New regulations

  • Option 1:
    • 1 single day free from duty per 7 consecutive days
    • 4 single days free from duty per 28 days
  • Option 2: 5 days off per 21 days

Consecutive night duties

Previous regulations (1996)

  • Not applicable

New regulations

  • Maximum of 3 nights of duty in a row without a rest during the night
  • If a rest is provided during the night, up to 5 consecutive nighttime duty periods

Fatigue Risk Management Systems

Previous regulations (1996)

  • No Fatigue Risk Management Systems option

New regulations

  • Option to use Fatigue Risk Management Systems

In November, Transport Canada updated the Work/Rest Rules for Railway Operating Employees first introduced in 2011 to better reflect the latest science on fatigue management and keep Canadians working or living near railways safe. Earlier, it released the 2020 edition of its Emergency Response Guidebook.