Policy on the Retention and Disposal of Physical Items

Effective July 1, 2019

1. Context

1.1 The object of the TSB is to advance transportation safety by conducting independent safety investigations. The effectiveness of those investigations is dependent, in large part, on the examination and testing of physical items such as occurrence wreckage or components of the aircraft, ship, train or pipeline involved in an occurrence.

1.2 Subsections 19 (1) and 19 (5) of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act (CTAISB Act) state that investigators may seize any physical item they believe to be relevant to the investigation of a transportation occurrence, and that they may have these items tested, even to physical destruction, for the purposes of the investigation.

1.3 Section 20 of the CTAISB Act requires that any physical item seized by an investigator, except for on-board recordings, be returned to its owner or to the person from whom it was seized as soon as possible after it has served the purpose for which it was seized.

1.4 In many cases, the owner of physical items seized by the TSB wants their material returned as soon as possible so that they can make use of those items for their own purposes (e.g., reuse serviceable components, use the items as evidence in litigation cases, recycle high-value items, etc.).

2. Definitions

2.1 “Physical items” means any object collected and/or seized by an investigator in the course of an investigation of a transportation occurrence, except for on-board recordings.

2.2 “On-board recordings” means a voice or video recording of operating personnel in any aircraft, ship, locomotive or pipeline operation as defined in the CTAISB Act.

2.3 “Owner” means the person or organization who holds the legitimate and legal entitlement to a physical item.

2.4 “Investigator” means any person employed at the TSB who has received a certificate of appointment in accordance with section 10 of the CTAISB Act. This includes the air, marine, rail and pipeline investigators, as well as the specialized investigators working in the Operational Services Branch.

3. Policy objective

3.1 The purpose of this policy is to state the TSB’s procedures with respect to the handling, retention and disposal of physical items collected by the TSB for investigation purposes.

4. Policy requirements

4.1 Collection of physical items

4.1.1 The investigator-in-charge (IIC) has control of the occurrence site and is the only person who may authorize the removal of wreckage or any components of the aircraft, ship, train or pipeline or any other relevant item involved in the occurrence.

4.1.2 Physical items requiring detailed examination or testing will normally be sent to the TSB Engineering Laboratory or the nearest TSB regional office. The IIC must consult with the Operational Services Branch before making arrangements or shipping physical items for examination or testing at the TSB Engineering Laboratory or at any other location outside of the TSB.

4.1.3 The IIC must ensure that all physical items collected and seized by TSB investigators are properly documented in the investigation file.

4.2 Handling and retention of physical items

4.2.1 Investigators must ensure that measures are taken to protect and safeguard all physical items while in TSB custody.

4.2.2 The IIC may provide supervised access to physical items upon request from other government departments and agencies who are conducting a lawful investigation or inquiry for purposes other than identifying the causes and contributing factors of a transportation occurrence (e.g., regulators, coroners, occupational health and safety organizations, etc.) so that they can collect required data and photos for their own purposes.

4.2.3 The IIC may provide supervised access to physical items to accredited representatives, minister’s observers and other invited observers who participate in the TSB investigation.

4.2.4 When such supervised access is granted, the IIC will impose conditions and restrictions to preserve the integrity of the TSB investigation.

4.2.5 Other external persons who are not involved in the TSB investigation will not have access to the physical items in TSB custody.

4.2.6 Prior to conducting tests to destruction or the irreversible disassembly/teardown of major components, investigators must take all reasonable measures to invite the owner of the physical item and any other person or organization reasonably entitled to be present at these tests (e.g., manufacturer, maintenance organization, etc.).

4.2.7 Physical items related to an investigation must be retained until all appropriate tests, examinations and documentation have been completed. Normally, such items will be disposed of during or upon completion of the analysis phase of the investigation. Physical items directly related to an investigation finding may be retained until the Board has completed its review of the representations made by designated reviewers on the confidential draft report.

4.2.8 In exceptional cases, the director of investigations may authorize the retention of specific physical items until after the investigation has been completed and the final report has been published.

4.2.9 The IIC will notify the owner when physical items have to be retained for longer than one year.

4.3 Disposal of physical items

4.3.1 The TSB is not responsible for the removal and disposal of wreckage or other material remaining on the occurrence site after the physical items required for the TSB investigation have been collected.

4.3.2 Subject to paragraphs 4.2.7 and 4.2.8, once it has been determined that a physical item has served its purpose in the investigation and that it is no longer required, the physical item must be returned to its owner as soon as practicable.

4.3.3 In the event that the owner indicates that the physical item is not wanted, or when the owner cannot be identified or located, the TSB will dispose of the item appropriately.

4.3.4 The IIC must ensure that the disposal of all physical items is documented in the investigation file.

5. Authorities

5.1 This policy is issued under the authority of the Board in accordance with paragraphs 8(1)(b) and 8(1)(c) and sections 19 and 20 of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act. It was approved by the Board on June 19, 2019, after consultation with the Executive Committee.

5.2 This policy will be reviewed and may be updated in response to changes in legislation, government priorities, or TSB strategic direction, but at least once every 5 years.

6. Roles and responsibilities

6.1 Chair

The Chair is responsible for initiating the periodic review and update of this policy by the Board.

6.2 Chief operating officer

The chief operating officer is responsible for the overall implementation, monitoring and oversight of this policy, as well as for seeking interpretation and guidance from the Board from time to time.

6.3 Directors of investigations and director, Operational Services

Directors of investigations and the director, Operational Services are responsible for ensuring that investigators adhere to this policy.

6.4 Investigator-in-charge

The investigator-in-charge is responsible for ensuring that all physical items are appropriately handled and disposed of in accordance with this policy and in a timely manner.

7. References

This policy is based on the following act and regulations:

8. Enquiries

Questions about this policy may be addressed to:


Date de modification :