Canadian airlines and government say a recent unflattering International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) audit of Transport Canada's implementation of ICAO's standards is not a reflection on the safe operation of Canadian aircraft.

The Canadian Press news agency obtained and first reported on the confidential ICAO audit which gave Canada a 64 out of 100 score, with aircraft operations, airports and air navigation reportedly scoring particularly poorly. The score is significantly below what a peer country would expect to receive and well below the same 2005 safety oversight audit that scored Canada 95 out of 100.

“ICAO has not identified any significant safety concerns with Canada’s civil aviation system, and we know our country’s air sector is among the safest in the world,” said Transport Ministry spokeswoman Laura Scaffidi.

"It is important to note it was not an audit of the safe operation of Canadian aircraft," reads an Air Canada (AC, Montréal Trudeau) statement. "For Air Canada's part, we have our own rigid internal safety processes. These are evaluated and audited regularly by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) is the gold standard for evaluating safety for airlines, and passing it is a condition of membership. Our most recent IOSA audit was concluded in November, and Air Canada passed with exemplary findings."

"WestJet (WS, Calgary) is aware that the United Nations agency, the ICAO, has conducted a Universal Safety Oversight Audit of Transport Canada," a spokesperson from that airline said. "This review was focused exclusively on Transport Canada, not Canadian airlines and therefore do not assess or reflect WestJet’s industry leading safety standards."

Flair Airlines (F8, Kelowna) declined to comment.

The current ICAO audit recommends the Transport Ministry set up processes to ensure full regulatory compliance by airlines and airports, improve dangerous goods certification, and make sure air traffic controllers receive proper training and fatigue management procedures are put in place.