Preparing for a Transportation Safety Board of Canada interview

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The purpose of this document is to help you prepare for a Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) interview. It describes why and how we conduct interviews, your rights as an interviewee, and how we protect the information you provide.

The TSB understands that you may not have been interviewed by the TSB or any other organization before.

If you have any questions or concerns about the interview after you have read this document, it is important that you contact the person at the TSB who asked you for the interview so that your questions can be addressed ahead of time.

The TSB thanks you in advance for the information you will provide in your upcoming interview. It will help advance the safety of the transportation system for all Canadians.

The mandate of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada

The mandate of the TSB is to investigate transportation occurrences in order to identify deficiencies in the transportation system so they can be prevented from happening again. The TSB does not assign fault, or civil or criminal liability. Instead, it aims to understand the aspects of the transportation system that led to the decisions made on the day of the occurrence.

Under the provisions of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act (CTAISB Act), TSB investigators can interview any person who has information relevant to the investigation of a transportation occurrence.

About TSB interviews

The TSB conducts interviews to gather information. It interviews the people involved in the occurrence to understand what they may have seen or heard before and during the accident, and to understand the operations of the company.

The information you provide helps the TSB understand why the accident occurred so that it can advance the safety of the transportation system for all Canadians.

To minimize influences on memory recall, TSB investigators prefer to interview witnesses as soon as possible, and before they are interviewed by other agencies. Please tell the TSB if another agency has asked you for an interview.

How the TSB conducts interviews

Interviews are conducted in a way that encourages you to contribute to safety by providing as many details as you can recall. The investigator works with you to create an atmosphere in which you are best able to provide information, and interviews you in the official language (English or French) of your choice.

Investigators interview you separately from your colleagues or other witnesses so that your recollections and knowledge aren't affected by another person's. However, the TSB does exercise its discretion on a case-by-case basis if a different approach is necessary.

The stages of the interview

Before the interview begins, the investigator explains the overall process. This is a good time for you to ask any questions that you may still have about the interview. The investigator usually starts by enquiring about your job and training, and then will ask you about what you witnessed or your understanding of company operations and anything else that may be relevant to the occurrence.

The investigator will follow up with questions to fully understand your point of view, and may also ask you about your medical and sleep histories.

Recording

To ensure the integrity of the investigation, the investigator records interviews electronically. He or she may also take handwritten notes.

An electronically recorded interview benefits both you and the investigator because it allows the investigator to focus on what you are saying, and it creates an accurate record of what was discussed that both can refer to later.

The TSB will send you an electronic copy of the recording if you request it in writing.

Confidentiality

To enable you to speak freely with the investigator in the interest of transportation safety, your interview statement is protected and will not be released outside the TSB.

Under the CTAISB Act, all interviews—including records of interviews and the identity of the interviewees—are privileged, and will not be shared with anyone outside the TSB unless the interviewee consents to it. The CTAISB Act also protects statements from being used in any disciplinary or other hearings, except as provided by the CTAISB Act. In addition, anyone attending an interview cannot communicate or share the statement without the written authorization of the interviewee.

The TSB opposes requests for the release of any statement without the consent of the interviewee. However, a court or a coroner may order the release of a witness statement if it concludes that the proper administration of justice outweighs the individual's privilege.

Attendance

Interviews are held "in camera" (in private, not open to the public). Only the following persons are permitted to attend an interview:

  • the TSB investigator(s)
  • any expert the investigator invited to attend
  • the interviewee
  • one accompanying person.

The accompanying person

You may invite a person of your choice, such as a friend, a colleague, a union representative, or a legal representative to accompany you during the interview. Interview questions must be answered by you and not by the accompanying person.

The accompanying person must not be in a situation of actual or potential conflict of interest, or be someone who has been or will be interviewed by the TSB.

You and the accompanying person should be aware that:

  • the interviewee's statement is privileged and cannot be communicated to others without the written authorization of the interviewee; and
  • the investigator may exclude an accompanying person from the interview if his or her interventions or behaviour interfere with the proper conduct of the interview.