Danny Breen, a St. John's city councillor who lost a brother in the 2009 Cougar helicopter disaster off Newfoundland, says proposed offshore safety regulations are good, but could be more stringent.

Transport Canada says helicopters should not fly when the sea is rough and that all passengers should have survival suits and underwater breathing gear.

Breen says that ignores one key recommendation from the offshore helicopter inquiry headed by retired justice Robert Wells in the wake of the 2009 Cougar crash, which killed 17 people and brought a new focus to safety issues in the offshore oil industry.

"I'm still concerned that the federal government hasn't addressed the issue of a separate safety regulator," Breen told CBC News, referring to Wells' call for a decision-making body that is beyond the direct control of oil companies and the existing regulator, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

"I think that is becoming particularly more important now, especially as the oil exploration and development is moving further offshore. So, the safety issues need to be heightened even greater."

Breen's brother, Peter Breen, worked with a catering company before he died in the crash of Cougar flight 491.

Wells recommended a separate safety agency when he filed his report in November 2010.

Breen said the continued lack of action by Ottawa since then on that pivotal recommendation has been disappointing.

"I can only say by their silence that they have no interest in it, and I think that that's a problem."

Oil companies working off Newfoundland say they are preparing a plan to resume night-time flights, which were halted during the Wells inquiry. The change, if approved, would allow helicopters to carry workers from St. John's to offshore installations, such as the Hibernia platform, before sunrise and after sunset.