Author Archives: Tetracom

Canada mandates locomotive video recorders

According to a press release from the TSB (Transportation Safety Board) today, Canada will (finally) act on locomotive voice and video recorders (LVVRs) for the country’s railways:

Today, the Minister of Transport has introduced a Bill in the House of Commons proposing some amendments to the Railway Safety Act (RSA) and the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act (CTAISB Act). One key provision of this new legislation pertains to locomotive voice and video recorders (LVVRs).

The proposed amendments to the RSA call for the mandatory installation of LVVRs in locomotives, specify the type of uses that can be made of the recordings and provide authority for TC to make regulations governing LVVRs. This addresses a key safety issue that has been on the TSB Watchlist since 2012, as well as two long-standing TSB recommendations.

WestJet pilots join union

After several failed attempts, pilots at WestJet Airlines have voted to unionize with ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association). 61% of counted ballots were in favour, with 851 pilots voting yes, while 531 voted no. WestJet employs about 1,400 pilots.

Shortly after results were announced today, WestJet said in a press release:

“We are disappointed with the outcome of the vote but we are dedicated to moving forward as a team. We will now focus on engaging in constructive dialogue with ALPA and concentrate on the continued success of the organization for guests, employees and shareholders.”

ALPA represents pilots at most major North American airlines.

WestJet’s flight attendants and customer service staff have also rejected previous organization drives and may be tempted to try again in light of the pilots’ success. (Sources: CBC News, 2017-05-12, “WestJet pilots vote in favour of forming a union“; ALPA)

Arctic focus from Canadian Sailings

This week’s issue of Canadian Sailings / Transportation & Trade Logistics has articles on the seasonal re-opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway and shipping in Canada’s arctic, including:

  • Trudeau’s Arctic: Warming up to the region
  • Trump’s Arctic: Making America Great in the region
  • Old issues plague Seaway when future focus is needed
  • The case of Clipper Adventurer: Between a rock and a hard place (A Federal Court decision examined government liability in the case of the adventure cruise vessel M/V Clipper Adventurer which ran aground in Coronation Gulf in the Canadian Arctic in 2010, necessitating an expensive rescue and salvage operation.)
  • A mandatory Polar Code – How does it affect shipping? (The IMO’s mandatory International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters)
  • NEAS to benefit from infrastructure spending and northern mining activities
  • Desgagnés’ Arctic business is thriving
  • Quebec Port Terminals anticipates major growth in its Arctic operations

See and (Registration may be required).

YVR plans 60% passenger increase between 2016-2037

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has released more documentation on its 20-year planning exercise, YVR 2037 Master Plan.

The most recent round of public consultation on Phase 3 launched on January 18th which coincided with the Flight Plan 2037 announcement and closed on Feb. 20, 2017.

The increased passenger number speculates on 35 million passengers in 2037, versus 22 million at present. YVR is careful to stress the risks or probabilities of 20-year forecasts. Its forecast of aircraft movements on the other hand is much lower than the 60% passenger increase cited in the title of this post. Whether this presupposes a greater number of larger capacity aircraft in future is not directly addressed (that I can see), but if aircraft movements cleave closely to passenger increases a 60% increase would translate into 510,000 annual movements compared to 2016’s 319,000 aircraft movements (runway and non-runway).

U.S. railways resist implementation of electronically controlled braking

Electronically controlled pneumatic braking (ECP) for trains improves braking efficiency when compared to standard pneumatic air brakes. ECP enables simultaneous application of wheel brakes on all of a train’s cars. Conventional air brakes on the other hand may require as much as two minutes before wheel brakes engage on the trailing units of a long train of more than 100 cars. Besides improved reaction time, ECP offers other advantages such as distributed braking and better control of the system’s air supply reservoir.

The slow brake reaction of trailing cars has been identified as a major contributing factor in oil train explosions. The continued momentum of those cars pushing against the already braking cars in front can cause derailments, broken couplings and subsequent puncture of the tank cars absorbing that momentum.

Aftermath of Lac-Mégantic derailment, July 2013Following several fiery derailments of oil trains, most notably Lac-Mégantic, American regulators — and to a lesser extent those in Canada — have been trying to advance the adoption of ECP. Railways have resisted because of cost. Today’s Washington Post covers the political battle over this issue in the U.S. with “Railroads, regulators clash over braking system for trains carrying flammable liquids.”

Canadian Perspective

Transport Canada continues to work with the Canadian industry to consider braking provisions, such as electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes, in train operating rules rather than requirements within the TC-117 tank car standard. Transport Canada is also following closely the new requirements brought forward by the United States FAST legislation, which imposed new research requirements before ECP braking can be brought into effect in the United States.1


Harmonized System for import/export gets five-year update

Statistics Canada announced today:

The 2017 edition of Canadian Export Classification is now available.

The Canadian Export Classification is a structured, hierarchical classification system based on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS). The HS nomenclature is divided into 21 sections, which in general, group goods produced in the same sector of the economy.

Changes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System
Changes will be introduced to the HS starting with the January 2017 reference month.

The changes are due in part to World Customs Organization updates to the six-digit HS codes, which are applied every five years to reflect changing international standards and trade patterns.

Additional changes will be applied at the HS ten-digit (import) and HS eight-digit (export) levels in order to improve the coding system. The changes are intended to address data gaps, eliminate seldom-used categories and reduce response burden for importers and exporters.

Concordance table
A concordance between the 2012 and the 2017 six-digit HS classification codes is now available. This concordance table lists the terminated HS codes alongside with the new 2017 recoded HS codes at the six-digit level.

The full Canadian Export Classification (65-209-X) is available in HTML and PDF format.

Trade secrets versus internet freedom

Today the Supreme Court of Canada opens a civil hearing that pits Equustek Solutions Inc., of Burnaby, BC, against Internet giant Google. Here’s the Supreme Court summary:

Under what circumstances may a court order a search engine to block search results, having regard to the interest in access to information and freedom of expression, and what limits (either geographic or temporal) must be imposed on those orders? — Do Canadian courts have the authority to block search results outside of Canada’s borders? — Under what circumstances, if any, is a litigant entitled to an interlocutory injunction against a non-party that is not alleged to have done anything wrong?

The plaintiffs sued their former distributors for unlawful appropriation of trade secrets, alleging that the distributors designed and sold counterfeit versions of their products. The plaintiffs obtained injunctions against the distributors, prohibiting them from carrying on any business online. When this proved ineffective, the plaintiffs sought a court order against Google, to prohibit it from displaying search results that included the distributors’ websites.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia granted a worldwide injunction against Google, finding that it had territorial competence over Google and that it possessed an inherent jurisdiction to maintain the rule of law and protect its processes, which in appropriate circumstances may include an injunction against non-parties. In this case, the balance of convenience favoured granting an injunction. The Court of Appeal agreed that the court held jurisdiction over Google with respect to the injunction application. It also concluded that it was permissible to seek interim relief against a non-party. The power to grant injunctions is presumptively unlimited, and injunctions aimed at maintaining order need not be directed solely at the parties involved in litigation. In this case, an injunction with worldwide effect was justified.1

Equustek designs and manufactures flexible communication interfaces mainly for the industrial automation industry. Products include gateways, bridges, and integration services. After a distribution agreement with American company Datalink Technologies foundered in the early 2000s things got messy, and confusing. However, around 2006 Datalink began selling a copy in substitution for one of Equustek’s products, and according to Equustek, returning defective counterfeits to Equustek for repair/replacement. (Sources: 1Supreme Court of Canada, case 36602 – Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc., et al.; Reasons for Judgment in the successful appeal in BC Supreme Court of the original Equustek vs. Jack proceeding (16 pp., 167 Kb pdf); The Toronto Star, 2016-12-06, “Google, B.C. firm duel over free speech, copyright in Supreme Court battle“; Techdirt blog)

Canada’s transport regulations for animals to be updated

This month sees two initiatives to modernize regulations for animal transport in Canada:

  1. the federal government has released for public comment (until February 15, 2017) “Health of Animals Regulations Part XII: Transportation of Animals-Regulatory Amendment – Interpretive Guidance for Regulated Parties“;
  2. the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) aims to update its 2001 transportation Code of Practice in 2018, and as a first step has launched a survey “Priority Welfare Topic Areas for the Transportation Scientific Committee,” which closes Dec. 9, 2016.

The former is managed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) which is empowered to enforce and administer the federal Health of Animals Act (HAA) and the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) for the transportation of animals into, within or out of Canada. The proposed amendments apply to all modes of transport including aircraft, carriage, motor vehicle, trailer, railway car, vessel, crate, cargo container or any other conveyance or contrivance used to move animals, and apply to all aspects of animal transport starting with:

  • handling the animal(s) for the purpose of loading,
  • loading the animal(s),
  • transporting the animal(s), and
  • unloading the animal(s).

The regulations define cases that render animals unfit for transportation and cases of compromised animals which are subject to strict limits of transportation.

The CFIA Guidelines refer specifically to the NFACC Code of Practice that provide detailed advice on such topics as ramp angles, step heights and load density for different species. There is a link to the 2001 Code on the NFACC survey page cited above.

Typical method of catching broiler chickens in a darkened barn.
Typical method of catching chickens in a darkened barn. Catchers generally carry 7 or 8 birds at a time and place them altogether in a wire crate for transport to a slaughterhouse. Current Canadian recommendations for maximum cold weather chicken load densities are 139 lb/10 sq. ft., less in warm weather, with all birds able to sit on the floor at the same time. (Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals, courtesy of The Animal Museum)

Protecting Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) consists of intangible assets associated with saleable products and includes design, branding, innovation and knowledge.

The protection of IP is an increasingly vital factor in the global economy. Globally, IP applications have grown nearly 70% in ten years, to over 11 million in 2014. Canadian businesses continue to expand into international markets, making the protection of IP in those markets highly important. IP rights have also become a key component of international trade deals. International trade is a major part of Canada’s economy, with individuals and businesses from over 120 countries around the world filing for IP rights in Canada in 2015. 1


The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) handles the administration of trademarks, patents, copyright and industrial design. CIPO is the best starting point for national information and assistance in IP matters.

This month CIPO released “IP Canada Report 2016” (also available as a 34 pp., 2.7 MB pdf download). The report discusses trends in the use of IP, both domestically and by Canadian innovators and businesses abroad. It relies both on CIPO’s own internal data and on data from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which collects global data.

In 2015, CIPO received applications for:

  • 36,964 patents (4% growth from 2014) and registered 22,201 patents,
  • 52,461 trademarks (3% growth) and registered 31,507 trademarks, and
  • 5,846 industrial designs (1% growth) and registered 5,728 industrial designs

Of course in the youtube age, national patents and trademarks offer limited protection. Canadian businesses must invest in IP rights in other countries in order to protect their inventions, brands, and product designs. In fact growth in Canadian IP activity abroad has outpaced domestic filings by Canadians. The obverse is that the top 5 non-resident filers represent 68% of total patent applications in Canada in 2015. The U.S. is by far the largest filer, followed by Canada (12%), Germany, Japan, France and Switzerland.


The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the global forum for IP services, policy, information and cooperation. It was established in 1967 as a self-funding agency of the United Nations. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, it currently has 189 member states.

WIPO provides free access to its IP and technology databases:


    Search the technology contained in more than million patent documents, including international patent applications submitted under the PCT.

  • Global Brand Database

    Search brand information from multiple national and international sources, including trademarks, appellations of origin and official emblems.


    Search detailed information, updated daily, on all international marks recorded under the Madrid system, which are currently in force or have expired within the past six months.

  • Global Design Database

    Search industrial design registrations from the Hague System plus participating national collections.

  • Hague Express

    Access details of industrial designs registered under the Hague System.

  • Lisbon Express

    Search appellations of origin registered under the Lisbon system.

  • Article 6ter

    Search for the State emblems, and names, abbreviations and other emblems of IGOs, which have been communicated for protection under Article 6ter.

  • WIPO Pearl

    A multilingual terminology database to find accurate IP and technological terms and concepts in 10 languages, validated by WIPO’s terminology experts.

  • Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI)
  • Access to Specialized Patent Information (ASPI)

IP classifications and standards:

  • International classifications

    Four international classification systems facilitate and simplify IP searches. These classification systems organize a huge amount of information concerning inventions, trademarks, and industrial designs into indexed, manageable structures for easy retrieval:

    • International Patent Classification (IPC)
    • Nice Classification (for marks)
    • Vienna Classification (for figurative elements of marks)
    • Locarno Classification (for industrial design)
  • WIPO Standards: The WIPO Standards for IP offices help streamline data processing procedures for filing, examining, publishing, granting and registering patents, trademarks and industrial designs. Common standards also assist the technical exchange of IP data between offices and WIPO, and facilitate the international dissemination of and access to IP information.

Other WIPO Resources:

  • IP statistics, including reports on IP filing activity worldwide.
  • Official documents from WIPO meetings and Assemblies, as well as presentations from WIPO events.
  • WIPO publications – browse and download for free online.
  • Country profiles, including IP profiles of member states, with statistics, legal information, case studies, photos and WIPO cooperation activities.
  • Case studies – IP Advantage
  • WIPO Library of over 35,000 references to support IP research

Protecting Your Business’s IP

Safeguarding your IP assets is neither simple nor cheap. The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) this week offers a starting point with the endorsement and release of an APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) document, ”
Best Practices in Trade secret Protection and Enforcement Against Misappropriation” (3pp., 47 KB pdf) The 8 “best practices” are really guiding principles for international agreement and cooperation, but may serve also as useful query points for exporters considering new markets.

The USTR also has available “Administration Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets” (141pp., 6.8 MB pdf). In addition to American trade strategy it contains illustrative case examples and outlines the legal framework.

1IP Canada Report 2016