COVID-19 – June 1 Update on Offshore Training and Medicals
Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Atlantic Canada Offshore Training and Qualifications Committee (TQC), working with regulators, have made a recent change to the timeline for requirements to obtain training.
Trainees who require refresher training, which could not be delivered due to COVID-19 precautions, will be granted an extension to October 31st, 2020. This extension is intended to allow operators time to clear backlogs in the number of individuals who require refresher training, to give training providers time to implement COVID-19 protocols and to allow trainees adequate time to complete the training. Operators are required to prioritize the completion of mandatory safety and role specific training, for training requirements outlined in the Code of Practice “Atlantic Canada Offshore Petroleum Standard Practice for the Training and Qualifications of Offshore Personnel”. In addition, operators may be required, at the request of the Chief Safety Officer, to provide update(s) on the status of any training backlogs.
The exemption process, as outlined in the Standard Practice for Atlantic Canada Offshore Petroleum Standard Practice for the Training and Qualifications of Offshore Personnel, is recognized as a suitable extension process for employers.
Through this process, personnel are permitted to travel offshore with certificates that expired during this extension period (e.g. BST-R) where recertification was not possible due to COVID-19 concerns. Training Providers can also accept certificates that expired during this extension period (e.g. BST-R) to allow the refresher training rather than full course, where recertification was not possible due to the pandemic.
Similarly, an individual with an offshore medical that expires in the coming months and cannot be renewed due to COVID-19 precautions will be granted an extension to allow the individual to obtain an offshore medical when it is safe to do so. The exemption process, as outlined in the Standard Practice, is recognized by the Offshore Boards as a suitable extension process for employers. An individual will have a period of 90 days from the time their medical expires to obtain a new medical.
Through this process, personnel are permitted to travel offshore with medicals that expire during this extension period, where medical recertification was not possible due to COVID-19. All offshore training requires a valid medical.
Whether at home or at work it is expected that all applicable national, regional and local government health alerts and guidance should be followed regarding the outbreak and spread of the virus.
Marine Personnel Certificates
In addition to measures taken in relation to training and medicals by the TQC and local regulators, Transport Canada’s Ship Safety Bulletin issued on March 16, 2020 noted the extension of the validity of the following Marine Personnel Certificates:
- Certificates of Competency;
- Certificates of Proficiency;
- Provisional Marine Medical Certificates; and
- Marine Medical Certificate
Any certificates set to expire before September 1, 2020, are granted an extended validity of 6 months (from date of expiry). The individual seafarer will not be required to submit an application.
For the four Transport Canada Marine Personnel Certificates referenced in the Bulletin, an exemption from the offshore Boards is not required given that TC has granted extensions.
Exemption for air operators and flight crew – Emergency Underwater Breathing Apparatus
Transport Canada has provided an exemption to subparagraph 602.66(1)(c) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations to allow air operators and flight crew to conduct offshore operations flights over Canadian waters with persons on board that have received Emergency Underwater Breathing Apparatus training within the 42-month period preceding the flight, rather than the normal 36-month period. This exemption provides temporary measures in the public interest in response to travel restrictions and limited access to training facilities that are being encountered related to COVID-19. More information can be found here.