Transportation Safety Board of Canada v. Kathleen Carroll-Byrne, et al.
(Nova Scotia) (Civil) (By Leave)
Transportation law - Interpretation, Courts - Legislation — Interpretation — Courts — Discretion to order production — Open court principle — Important public interest — Privacy — Safety — Does s. 28(6)(b) of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act, S.C. 1989, c. 3 (the Act), entitle the Transportation Safety Board of Canada to make in camera submissions (not in the presence of other parties) to a court prior to any decision to release an on board recording (in this case, a cockpit voice recorder) — What is the correct test to be applied by a court when deciding whether to order production of the contents of an on-board recording (in this case, a cockpit voice recorder) pursuant to s. 28(6)(c) of the Act.
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An Air Canada flight from Toronto to Halifax crashed when it landed short of the runway during a snowstorm. Some of the passengers commenced a class action asserting negligence on the part of various defendants, including Air Canada, the pilot and co-pilot. The appellant (Board) investigated the crash, taking into consideration the on-board cockpit voice recorder (CVR). The Board’s report on its findings was produced to the parties. The respondent Airbus S.A.S. moved for an Order requiring the Board to produce the audio data from the CVR and any transcripts. Other respondents also sought production. The CVR and transcripts are in possession of the Board, who claims a statutory privilege over the materials under the Act. It intervened to argue that the court should not exercise its discretion to order production in the face of its privilege. A judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia denied a motion by the Board to make further ex parte representations after his in camera review of the CVR and ordered production of the CVR and transcripts, subject to restrictions. The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal granted leave to appeal and dismissed the appeal.
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