Swissair 111 Awards to TSB Members

The Head of Public Service Awards 2003 Program Booklet


Coat of Arms

Presented by
Alex Himelfarb
Clerk of the Privy Council and
Secretary to the Cabinet

Gatineau, Quebec

December 2003

Message from the Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary  to the Cabinet 
Alex Himelfarb

I am pleased to pay tribute to public service employees who, through their resolve and vision, have helped and continue to help build our country.

As you read through the following pages, you will discover that this year's recipients of the Head of the Public Service Award are being honoured for their outstanding work in seven categories: Values and Ethics, Excellence in Policy, Valuing and Supporting People, Excellence in Service Delivery, Collaborative Working Relationships, Excellence in Service Transformation, and Official Languages. Whether individually

Alex Himelfarb

 or as part of a team, each has demonstrated a commitment to the public service's core values that rises above the ordinary. These recipients have distinguished themselves not only by what they have achieved, but also by how they have achieved it. Their work epitomizes the Public Service of Canada's finest traditions: vision, integrity, loyalty, energy and enthusiasm, the pursuit of excellence, and a common commitment to government's role in our democratic society. Because of their collective efforts, the Public Service of Canada is better able to serve Canadians. As a Canadian, I am grateful for the dedicated men and women who, in the face of diverse challenges and changing times, continue to serve the public. As a public servant, I am proud to work alongside them. I invite you to join me in paying tribute to this year's recipients of the Head of the Public Service Award for their outstanding achievements.


Swissair Flight 111 Investigation Team

Safety Board of Canada

John R. Britten
Mark Clitsome
Don Enns
Jim Foot
John Garstang
Lee Garstang
Vic Gerden
Cynthia Hirtle
Louis Landriault
Douglas McEwen
Theodore Parisee
Gus Sidla
Manny Soberal
Elaine M. Summers
André Turenne
Larry Vance
Randy Vitt

The members of the Transportation Safety Board's Swissair Flight 111 Investigation Team faced a complex challenge that they overcame through their remarkable ingenuity and skill. For months on end, the team dedicated themselves to recovering evidence and determining the cause of this fatal accident, which occurred on September 2, 1998, off the coast of Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia.

When they began their investigation, over one million pieces of wreckage from the aircraft were strewn across the ocean floor approximately 55 metres underwater and there were no recorded voice or technical data to help them reconstruct the final six minutes of the flight. This absence of crucial information forced the team to develop innovative methods to determine what happened.

Working closely with Canadian and foreign government departments and agencies, as well as local authorities, the airline transport industry, companies, and individuals, the team meticulously pieced together the puzzle. Combining traditional investigative methodologies with sophisticated digital techniques, they succeeded in pinpointing the origin of the on-board fire that ultimately led to the crash and in electronically mapping its spread.

The results of the team's painstaking analysis have contributed to both our understanding of the causes of this tragedy and the safety of air travellers around the world. In addition to reconstructing the accident itself, the comprehensive final report detailed 23 key recommendations to help airlines avert such tragedies in the future. The team also established a new standard for computer-modelling fires aboard aircraft and put to rest lingering questions in the minds of the victims' families and friends.

The members of the Swissair Flight 111 Investigation Team demonstrated not only great resourcefulness and professionalism in carrying out their work but also compassion for the families of the crew and passengers who died. Their dedication and expertise exemplify the best qualities of public service.

Nominated by David N. Kinsman, Transportation Safety Board of Canada 

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