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Putting It All Together

October 22, 2013  By Fred Jones

The Helicopter Association of Canada (HAC) is welcoming members to its first full-format fall convention this year in Vancouver – and it’s only just the beginning.

The Helicopter Association of Canada (HAC) is welcoming members to its first full-format fall convention this year in Vancouver – and it’s only just the beginning.

Two years ago, most of the association’s operators and associates asked for HAC to move its convention to the fall. Operators and associates wanted to move the event from spring to fall to distance the HAC convention from the Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo (held annually in February) and the CHC Safety & Quality Summit (held in late April). Operators also wanted to avoid the potential conflict between the HAC convention and an early spring operating season.

The 2013 convention also marks a number of milestones at HAC – and represents a turning point in the evolution of the association. There are a number of programs that have been in development for more than a year that will be rolled out in Vancouver. This year, HAC is offering the most extensive professional development program in its history. Educational sessions include: Bell Ultrasound Grip Inspection, Audit Preparation, Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance, PDM for Helicopter Flight Crews, and Flying in the Wire & Obstruction Environment to name just a few.

HAC will also be rolling out a series of programs at the convention aimed at assisting smaller and medium-sized operators – programs that have been developed by capitalizing on the experiences of existing operator-members. The following template documents have been developed to help in this process. All are completely customizable to the needs of your operation.

  • Training agreement – A forgivable loan agreement between the operator and an individual flight crewmember or engineer to ensure that operators can continue to offer the best training to loyal employees and contractors at the lowest possible cost, and receive a reasonable return on that investment.
  • Templates for offers of employment for fixed-term, full-time employees, contractors, and indeterminate full-time employees – These templates have been developed to bring more consistency and transparency to the employer-employee relationship and to help ensure that operators don’t run afoul of Canada Labour Standards regulations and hours-of-work requirements.
  • A simplified averaging agreement – This template presents easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for completion.
  • A template policy manual – This template is designed to serve as a guide for operators if they would like to establish clear policy guidance for employees on issues such as probationary periods, use of safety equipment, harassment policy, disciplinary policy and the use of false information in the pre-employment process, to name just a few.
  • A group benefits program – This template was designed through the power of pooled premiums and will be able to offer smaller and medium-sized operators and associates more reasonably priced health insurance for company employees and contractors.

The advocacy efforts at HAC have never been more fruitful. HAC is partnering with a number of other aviation associations to achieve common goals in a number of vital areas. We have been working collaboratively with other associations to advance our interests in flight and duty times and in the issue of Canadian ownership, but also in a number of other key regulatory areas.

As HAC settles in to the new model, we will be looking to you, our valued operator members, associates and individuals, to help us develop new advocacy and service programs going forward. Some have suggested that HAC should be developing a HAC heli-pad construction best practice, or it should be exploring the development of an economic blueprint document for the Canadian helicopter industry to identify emerging business opportunities internationally and as an aid in our advocacy efforts with government. All are worthwhile ideas and are strongly being considered going forward.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for new programs, services or products, please send them directly to me at fred.jones@h-a-c.ca. It is only with your input that we will continue to evolve as an association to better suit your needs. Let’s work together to help shape the future of this invaluable Canadian industry.

Fred Jones is the president/CEO of the Helicopter Association of Canada and a regular contributor to Helicopters magazine.


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