Over 100 Years of Canadian aviation

The following are some of Canada’s achievements in aviation.

  • 1909 – On February 23, the Silver Dart flies nearly 800 m in Baddeck, NS, marking Canada’s first powered, heavier-than-air flight.
  • 1915 – The first production of aircraft in Canada, the Curtiss JN-3 airplane, begins in Toronto.
  • 1919 – The Canadian Pacific Railway Company makes a request to the Government of Canada to launch a passenger air service.
  • 1919 – The Air Board Act was drafted by J.A. Wilson and Col. O.M. Biggar and received Royal Assent on June 6, 1919. The Air Board Act was renamed in 1937 to the Aeronautics Act.
  • 1919 – The first direct trans-Atlantic flight is made from St. John’s Newfoundland to Clifden, Ireland by John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown in a twin-engined Vickers Vimy bomber.
  • 1920 – The Royal Canadian Air Force is formed.
  • 1930s – Canada moves more freight by air than the rest of the world combined. Air traffic control, flight plans, fixed routes, designated levels and radio contact, soundproof cabins and flight attendants are introduced.
  • 1934 – Jessica Jarvis becomes the first woman in Canada to earn her commercial pilot’s licence.
  • 1937 – The government creates Trans-Canada Airlines (which became Air Canada in 1964) to meet Canada’s need for a transcontinental service.
  • 1937 – The role of Minister of Transport is created through the Department of Transport Act.
  • 1938 – The first coast-to-coast passenger service begins on March 6.
  • 1938-1945 – During the Second World War, aircraft manufacturing and training aircrew are one of Canada’s contributions to the wartime effort. By 1945, the aviation industry employs 120,000 people, including 25,000 women.
  • 1944 – The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is founded with the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation. Canada is one of the original 52 member states, and the organization is headquartered in Montreal.
  • 1958 – The Avro CF-105 Arrow makes its first high-speed flight.
  • 1964 – Most major Canadian airports accommodate long-range jet aircraft. Instrument landing systems at airports help the safety of rapidly growing numbers of air travellers.
  • 1990 – The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is created by the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act on March 29, 1990.
  • 1996 – NavCanada becomes responsible for air navigation in Canada.
  • 1996 – The Canadian Aviation Regulations become law on October 10, 1996, replacing the Air Regulations and Air Navigation Orders.
  • 1999 – Canada leads the world by being the first country to implement safety management systems (SMS) as a new way to eliminate safety risks in civil aviation.
  • 2002 – Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority (CATSA) is created to focus on air transportation security—from passenger and baggage screening to screening airport workers.
  • 2006 – Canada adopts the Blue Sky Policy to guide the negotiation of air transportation agreements with countries around the world. The policy encourages long-term and sustainable competition, and the development of new and expanded international air services to benefit passengers, shippers and the tourism and business sectors.
  • 2008 – Canada’s Bombardier, Inc, the world's third-largest civil aircraft maker, unveils its ‘green’ C Series family of fuel-efficient jets.
  • 2009 – Canada signs its most comprehensive air transport agreement covering all Member States of the European Union.
  • 2014 – The first test ranges for drones and safety regulations are approved.
  • 2015 – The Bombardier C Series CS100 aircraft is certified.
  • 2016 – The Transportation 2030 policy includes the need to enhance the future of aviation in Canada, including drone regulations, and passenger rights.
  • 2016 – The Bahamas becomes the 100th country covered by new or expanded air transport agreements negotiated under the Blue Sky policy.
  • 2018 – On May 23, 2018, the Transportation Modernization Act receives Royal Assent.
  • 2018 – Canada introduces new safety measures to protect Canadians from laser attacks on aircraft.
  • 2018 – Canada publishes new fatigue regulations that respect modern fatigue science and international standards to limit the amount of time a crew member can be on the job and make air travel safer for all Canadians
  • 2019 – Canada introduces new regulations for remotely piloted aircraft systems (drones).

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