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SMS (Safety Management Systems), the shorthand Transport Canada uses to describe its new approach, makes the aviation industry responsible for implementing systems designed to ensure safe air travel in Canada. Under the concept, the federal department will do fewer direct safety audits of air carriers, instead keeping watch over safety checks done by the airlines themselves.
In a spring report, federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser examined Transport Canada's march toward fully implementing its air safety management system. The report uses the following example to define the safety management system:
"For example, instead of conducting an inspection to assess whether the tires in the aircraft landing gear are sufficiently inflated, Transport Canada will assess whether a company has the systems in place to ensure that the tires are inflated, following up if necessary.
The goal is to make companies more accountable for the management of risks. Transport Canada will still be accountable for safety oversight. The department maintains that safety management systems will allow more thorough identification and resolution of potential safety problems, making the transportation system safer."
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