Cutbacks affect Transportation Safety Board investigations
Safety board investigates major accidents, but some minor incidents overlooked
Transportation Safety Board investigators are busy with two northern Ontario cases, but budget cutbacks mean the board isn't doing as many investigations as it used to.
Like most federal government agencies, the board is running on a thinner budget these days. About $2 million dollars has been trimmed in the past two years, a cut of about seven per cent, leading to fewer employees and fewer investigations.
Ontario manager Don Enns said it means the board has to pick and choose which accidents it looks into. Currently the board is looking into a fatal helicopter crash near Moosonee and a major train derailment south of Sudbury.
"Have we missed anything significant? I don't think so," Enns said.
"Have we missed a few things that I would love to have been able to afford to go to? Yes we have."
'Safety should come first'
The safety board does investigate all major accidents — especially those involving fatalities. But Enns said some of the minor incidents are not fully investigated, even though the findings could prevent future crashes.
"You don't know if you don't go and have a close look, but that's economics that we don't have," he said.
Despite the cuts, the public shouldn't worry about their safety when they step on a plane, boat or train, Enns added.
But NDP transportation critic Olivia Chow said this is one area the government should have left alone.
"In my books, safety should not be compromised," she said.
"You can cut anywhere else, but safety should come first."
A request to interview Conservative Transportation Minister Denis Lebel for this story was declined.