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Canada Boosts Aviation Safety

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

02 May 2008

Lawrence Cannon, Canada's Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, has announced that new regulations will require Canadian flight crew and air traffic controllers to demonstrate proficiency in either English or French in a bid to improve aviation safety.

"These regulations will enhance Canada's excellent aviation safety record," explained Cannon, adding that: "Canada is among the first countries to meet the new language proficiency requirements that the International Civil Aviation Organization expects contracting states to comply with by 2011."

In March 2008, the International Civil Aviation Organization introduced a standard for contracting states, which requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to speak and understand the language used for radiotelephony communications before issuing a licence.

The international aviation community supported this standard, following several fatal accidents abroad where the lack of language proficiency was cited as a factor. The new Canadian regulations harmonize with international standards.

New licence applicants will now need to successfully complete the Aviation Language Proficiency Test. This formal test will assess English and French linguistic abilities and is available through a network of delegated examiners across Canada. The majority of existing licence holders already meet these language requirements.

The regulations were developed in close consultation with the Canadian aviation community through the Language Proficiency Study Group, assembled in 2004.

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