All posts tagged safety management systems

Media Update for April 14, 2011

Canadian food safety criticized by Canadian Medical Association Journal:

I picked up another food safety story from one of my favourite blogs, barfblog. Doug Powell, who is a Canadian at Kansas State University, has a posting on the state of food inspection in Canada. This when we’re in the midst of another food contamination outbreak that has made more than a dozen people sick and may have killed one woman.

Powell’s post quotes a Canadian Medical Association Journal editorial on food safety (which criticizes Canada’s food inspection system), and former Canadian Food Inspection Agency President Ron Doering (who gives it lukewarm praise).

As Powell observes, and contrary to the statements of the quoted individuals, Canada is actually not all that good at food regulation. Or any regulation, I’d have to add. This, at least, is the assessment of Global Integrity, which gave Canada a poor rating on law enforcement.

We at Canadians for Accountability agree with GI for several reasons. First of all, there has been a widespread move towards so-called safety management systems (called, I believe, the “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point” system in food safety) – where producers are expected to monitor their own systems and ensure a safety culture, and regulators generally only inspect the safety system as opposed to shop-floor compliance testing.… Read the rest

B.C. Court rules that Transport Canada can be held liable in lawsuit

Most people remember the 2008 listeriosis outbreak which killed 23 Canadians, and many will recall that part of the reason it happened was because the Canadian Food Inspection Agency had delegated most inspection duties to the meat packers. Government inspectors were just responsible for making sure that a system of inspection was in place – not whether it worked or not. There was also a shortage of inspectors (and still is).

What most Canadians don’t know is that the same kind of regulatory system is in place for aviation safety. They also probably don’t know that this system, called Safety Management Systems (or SMS) by Transport Canada, has been linked to a number of crashes – including a couple of air taxis in B.C.

Transport Canada insisted that SMS was a supplement to regular inspections (a lie: inspections were cut) and that aviation safety was enhanced. To make matters worse, they vigorously denied that they were even liable for ensuring that airlines were SMS compliant. In other words, they wanted to be a regulatory and enforcement agency without any liability or responsibility for the safety of Canadians – at all.

Thankfully, a B.C. court set the matter straight this week in a case where widows of crash victims are suing for damages.… Read the rest

Media Update for April 29, 2010

My first story pertains to Perry Dunlop, the former police officer from Cornwall, Ontario, who blew the whistle of the sexual abuse of minors in that city. Despite being decorated and respected, he faced years of cover-ups and reprisals for his persistence and dedication in bringing the issue to public light.

He finally succeeded in having an inquiry called into the handling of the whole matter, but it was a Pyrrhic victory: the inquiry was too limited to really get to the bottom of things. Perry refused to testify as matter of conscience and protest and went to jail as a result. He wasn’t treated well when in there, either. He later appealed that sentence, and, just this week, his appeal was thrown out by the Ontario courts.

This was expected, but disappointing. Judges really have no idea what whistleblowers go through. I guess it’s easier to stay in the ivory tower.

You can read my full comment on his case here.

In other news, pilots are telling Transport Canada that it isn’t doing its job with respect to regulating pilot fatigue. This is the same department behind safety management systems story, in which they have been slowly surrendering its inspections and regulatory authority to operators.… Read the rest