An Airbus A320 taxis to the terminal after landing at the Northwest Regional Airport on June 30, 2021. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)

An Airbus A320 taxis to the terminal after landing at the Northwest Regional Airport on June 30, 2021. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)

Northwest Regional Airport without technicians over federal vaccine mandate

Technicians from Vancouver will service the northwest airports until Nav Canada figures next move

Northwest Regional Airport Terrace-Kitimat is left without its two maintenance technicians owing to federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

The technicians, who are appointed by Nav Canada that owns and operates Canada’s civil air navigation system, are not double vaccinated and therefore not in compliance with federal mandates.

Airport manager Carman Hendry confirmed that both the technicians who also service the Smithers and Prince Rupert airports, have been placed on a 90 day suspension period by Nav Canada.

As a federally regulated company in the air transportation sector, Nav Canada developed a COVID-19 Vaccine Policy, requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated.

While accommodation measures are available for employees who are unable to be vaccinated due to grounds protected under human rights legislation (including for medical reasons), this policy has been implemented with no interruption to our services across the country, said Nav Canada in an email statement.

That said, both Hendry and Nav Canada told the Terrace Standard that this does not run any risk nor cause any disruption to regular airport activities.

“The navigational aids at the Northwest Regional Airport continue to be subject to the same required response standards and, in the event of a disruption, a technologist unit will be dispatched to Terrace from Vancouver accordingly – much in the same manner that the staff from Terrace were sometimes dispatched to other locations to meet response times,” said Nav Canada spokesperson, Brian Boudreau.

Boudreau also said that Nav Canada is assessing requirements and associated resourcing in consideration of the change to their resource availability from Terrace.

“Rest assured, that safety is our number one priority and our technologist team is there to provide the necessary maintenance services in support of safe and efficient air navigation services,” he added.

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