Some of this Week’s Other Highlights in Brief

Top Aces F-16s
Photo credit: James Deboer/Top Aces
  • Defence minister Bill Blair announced this week (January 23) that Canada will be supplying civilian instructors, aircraft and support staff, all contracted from Montreal-based Top Aces Inc., as our country’s contribution to the F-16 Training Coalition in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The contract value is $15 million. Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February of 2022, Canada has committed over $2.4 billion in military assistance to Ukraine.
  • Many of us are waiting for the TSB investigation report on the tragic crash on Tuesday (Jan. 23) of a BAe Jetstream twin turboprop shortly after takeoff from Fort Smith, just north of Alberta in the Northwest Territories. The chartered flight was carrying workers to Rio Tinto’s Diavik Diamond Mine. Of the five passengers and two crew members, there was only one survivor. Readers will recall the Air Tindi Twin Otter crash in the same area on Dec. 7. All aboard that flight survived with the help of the Canadian Armed Forces SAR Techs who parachuted to the site in challenging conditions and stayed with the survivors overnight. They were assisted by workers from the Diavik mine, who arrived on snowmobiles soon after the SAR Techs to assist with the rescue.

  • Air Canada has been recognized as one of Canada’s top 100 employers for young people, according to Mediacorp Canada Inc., which specializes in publishing periodicals related to employment. This is the first time Air Canada has made the list. Among the criteria highlighted, Air Canada was noted for providing paid internships in a range of disciplines as well as offering a “buddy system” to help young people integrate into the organization.
  • In a month when Boeing is the subject of intense scrutiny over their quality control procedures and practices, WestJet announced on January 23 that it has acquired five new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, with delivery expected in early 2025. Three of the aircraft will be leased from the China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co. Ltd. and the remaining two from Avolon. This acquisition will bring WestJet’s fleet of new 737 Max aircraft to 22 by the end of 2025 and up to 66 of the type before the end of 2028.

  • Until recently, the RCMP had a policy of prohibiting the use of cannabis products by its front-line officers for the four weeks prior to reporting for duty. This policy mirrored Transport Canada’s policy of the automatic suspension of an aviation medical certificate for 28 days after the use of a cannabis product. The new RCMP policy now states that only that a member must be fit for duty when starting work. Can changes be coming soon to Transport Canada’s policy?