MPs adopt M-96, call on Canadian Gov’t to strengthen airport firefighting regulations

December 15 • 2023

The IAFF is celebrating the adoption of a House of Commons motion that calls on the Canadian Government to strengthen the nation’s airport firefighting regulations as an important step toward improving air passenger and fire fighter safety at Canada’s major airports.

MP Ken Hardie speaks on Motion M-96

Motion M-96 points out shortfalls in the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) requirements for airport firefighting and asks the Canadian Government to bring them up to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, including the specification of rescue as a required function of airport fire fighters and the ability for fire fighters to reach all areas of operational runways in three minutes.

Introduced in September by B.C. Liberal MP Ken Hardie in response to IAFF lobbying, M-96 was adopted Wednesday by a vote of 211-112, with IAFF representatives and members of Ottawa Airport Local 3659 and Ottawa Local 162 watching from the gallery.

Prior to the vote, the IAFF urged key MPs to support the motion. Its adoption signifies that a majority of MPs representing a majority of Canadians agree that the government should act on the issue.

During a House of Commons debate Tuesday before the vote, Hardie thanked those MPs who spoke in favour of his motion and said he was glad the issue was getting long overdue attention.

“The commentary has been really thoughtful and has illuminated an issue that has been hidden, it seems, for at least 25 years, and that is the gap between Canada’s current aviation regulations and the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization,” Hardie said.

“I think the time has come to listen to the fire fighters. The regulatory amendments they want are simple and, above all, essential. It is high time we took action to improve everyone’s safety,” Bloc Québécois MP Louise Chabot said during the debate.

B.C. NDP MP Alistair MacGregor confirmed his party’s support for M-96.

“We should meet international standards for safety,” he said, “and should make sure the government is providing our fire fighters the proper resources to accomplish that goal.”

Delegates lobbied MPs and Senators to strengthen Canada’s airport firefighting regulations in March during the 31st Canadian Legislative Conference. The IAFF also met with federal Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez in early December to advance the issue.