Jazz Aviation well-prepared for any emergency

Company wins gold in transportation category of Canada's Safest Employers awards

Jazz Aviation well-prepared for any emergency

Jazz Aviation will be implementing a new safety management software tool later this year, complete with a mobile app. Workplace inspections will be completed on a mobile device, allowing pictures, geo-tagging and instant submissions to line management. The company’s 5,425 employees across Canada are currently being trained on the new process. 

“It’s very transparent. Personnel can follow the report: where it stands, the investigator. It will be a lot more proactive. And I think it will be appreciated by the employees to have it that way,” says Captain Rod Campbell, Air Line Pilots Association occupational safety and health representative and employee co-chair of Jazz Aviation’s national policy committee.


In early 2018, Jazz Aviation, headquartered in Dartmouth, N.S., developed an internal classification system for all incoming safety reports to optimize investigative workflow and resources. A cross-functional safety investigations team reviews reports daily and assigns a classification between one and three. The system was inspired by the one used at the Transportation Safety Board.

“It did encounter a little bit of resistance initially, but very quickly, it brought in line the expectations of both the investigative team and the employees. It actually increased the efficiency of the investigative team by 300 per cent,” says Giselle Lue, manager of occupational safety and health.

The classification system is particularly helpful in identifying where the safety committees can help out and which reports really do not require a high-level, thorough investigation.

Yet another investigations program at Jazz Aviation is the Safety Management Activity Review Team (SMART). It gives the union a chance to review investigative activity and findings with the corporate safety investigative staff. 

“[And] it allows us an opportunity to better watch for trends. Is there a real issue here? Was this a one-off or is this a trend that’s leading that we should be paying more specific attention to?” says Campbell.

Late last year, the executive team began a national roadshow with stops in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver that provided various operational and safety updates. Led by company president Randolph deGooyer, the event included all vice-presidents and directors of Jazz’s main operational departments. All employees were invited to attend the town hall format discussion and they were encouraged to ask questions of the executives. The event was very well received and similar events will be planned in the future, Lue says. 

An important component of operating an airline is having effective emergency response procedures. Jazz Aviation regularly participates in exercises with various airport authorities on responding to an active shooter, aircraft crash and bomb threat. 

Annually, a full-scale simulation is conducted with a mock emergency that involves many stakeholders, including first responders and members of the public to act as passengers and bystanders. The simulations can get “pretty intense,” Lue says, but they are an excellent training experience and a good test of the Jazz emergency response plan.

“Obviously, an accident is something that we hope never happens; however, that being said, it’s important to be prepared in the event it does happen, so the simulations are a great opportunity for the company to go through it [and] iron out any bugs they may discover,” says Campbell. 

A couple of years ago, Jazz’s program proved very helpful to another airline. When an emergency struck, the other airline was not well prepared, so Jazz’s emergency response co-ordinator went through their checklist and helped the other airline navigate the incident.

“When you’re in an airport, you have a handful of airlines; if something happens at that airport, everybody is in a support function,” Lue says. “We jump in there to provide whatever support we can.”