Latest updates on the targeted regulatory review - February 2021

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The Transportation Sector Regulatory Review Roadmap is Transport Canada’s plan to address regulatory barriers to innovation and investment, while also supporting innovation and novel approaches in the transportation sector. The Roadmap was introduced as part of the federal government’s Targeted Regulatory Reviews.

Since June 2019, Transport Canada has made great progress in implementing the initiatives outlined in the Transportation Sector Regulatory Review Roadmap. So far, we’ve implemented 8 initiatives, and are on track to complete 7 others.

Some of the work on these initiatives has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result we have revised some of the Forward Regulatory Plan’s timelines to take this into account. Transport Canada is still on track to complete all initiatives by 2022.

This page includes updates on these initiatives, and highlights some of the progress made so far.

On this page

Modernizing regulations

Connected and automated vehicle regulations

Transport Canada updated the importation-related sections of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations, which were published in Canada Gazette, Part II in February 2020.

The new sections allow industry to temporarily import connected and automated vehicles and other vehicle technologies in order to evaluate or test them for 1 year or more. These new sections make the regulations more flexible and help reduce costs for industry.

Drone regulations

Transport Canada is updating the Canadian Aviation Regulations for drones in two phases. This will make the regulations more flexible, which will support innovation for the drone industry.

Phase 1 focused on the regulatory requirements for small remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) operations within visual line-of-sight, and was published in January 2019.

Phase 2 involves the development of a regulatory framework for lower-risk, beyond visual line-of-sight drone use. Transport Canada consulted on the Notice of Proposed Amendment in April 2020, and the comments we received informed the regulatory framework. We expect the regulatory proposal to be pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I in late 2021, and published in Canada Gazette, Part II in late 2022.

To address the need for Canada’s regulations to better align with those from the United States (US), Transport Canada and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) signed a Declaration of Intent in March 2018 to work together on researching and developing drones.

Transport Canada also continues to work with the FAA, the National Research Council and the Alliance for System Safety of Unmanned Aircraft Systems through Research Excellence (ASSURE), which is a US center of excellence, comprised of leading research institutions and industry and government partners. This work resulted in several research projects that set safety levels and developed the airworthiness certification criteria for some small and large drones.

Aviation regulations

Transport Canada has proposed a new authority for issuing Ministerial Orders under the Aeronautics Act. This new authority is more flexible, in order tosupport innovation, develop businesses, and address urgent operational and safety requirements. Consultations on the proposal have been delayed due to the pandemic, but are now planned for 2021.

To help the aviation industry respond to emerging priorities, Transport Canada has introduced 4 regulatory amendments to modernize parts of the Canadian Aviation Regulations that deal with:

The next group of updates to the Canadian Aviation Regulations will deal with:

  • Aircraft Identification and Registration requirements
  • Helicopter and Heliport and Commercial Aircraft Operations, to align requirements with American regulations
  • Air Navigation Services, to replace outdated information and technologies related to navigation systems and air traffic controllers, and
  • Personnel Training, Qualifications and Licensing, so that training and licensing requirements reflect new technology and relieve administrative burden

Transport Canada is also working with industry to modernize the regulatory framework so air personnel in Canada have the right skills, tools, and competencies for their jobs. We also participate in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s New Generation of Aviation Professionals Taskforce, whose goal is to increase the number of women and Indigenous people in the aviation industry.

Marine safety regulations

In 2020, Transport Canada finished amending the Navigation Safety Regulations. The proposed updates to the Vessel Safety Certificates Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on October, 31, 2020, and we expect they will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II in spring 2021.

As part of this initiative, Transport Canada will be focusing on 8 regulatory proposals:

  • Vessel Construction and Equipment Regulations
  • Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations (Phase 2)
  • Regulations amending the Small Vessels Regulations
  • Marine Personnel Regulations
  • Marine Safety Management System Regulations
  • Regulations amending the Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals Regulations
  • Vessel Clearance Regulations
  • Regulations amending the Regulations Excluding Certain Government Ships from the Application of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, which will be repealed when the Marine Personnel Regulations are updated.

Canadian Transportation Agency

The Canadian Transportation Agency completed its regulatory modernization initiative in 2019. It encompassed 4 components: accessible transportation, air transportation regulations, air passenger protection regulations and rail transportation. The components on air transportation regulations and rail transportation are highlighted in the Transportation Sector Regulatory Review Roadmap.

Updates to both the Air Transportation Regulations and Rail Transportation Regulations came into force in summer 2019. The amendments made stemmed from feedback the agency received from transportation industry stakeholders and shippers. These amendments reduce the burden on industry by streamlining application processes and updating provisions to reflect industry practices. The Canadian Transportation Agency also released new guidance on long-haul interswitching in October 2019.

Staying competitive

Road safety for connected and automated vehicles

Transport Canada now has a dedicated webpage with information on connected and automated vehicle safety. The webpage features a variety of resources including videos on how to safely use driver assistance features. Supported by a paid social media campaign, these videos reached over 2.4 million views.

Transport Canada also published guidance and tools to help industry safely test and deploy connected and automated vehicle technology:

In 2020, Transport Canada also:

  • clarified regulatory requirements and guidance to support the industry’s ability to adopt emerging technologies
  • published a Process for Seeking Exemptions from Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
  • launched an informal consultation on updating the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations with new requirements for automated emergency braking and pedestrian automated emergency breaking systems
  • continued to work closely with the United States to harmonize the standards on connected vehicles and reduce manufacturing costs
  • established a public-private Canadian Security Credential Management System Governance Committee to develop a Canada-US interoperability policy framework which should be published in fall 2021
  • focused on developing flexible regulations that will support innovation and new technologies
    • stakeholders will be able to comment on the proposed updates in early 2022
  • worked with all levels of government, industry stakeholders and international partners to:
  • introduced the Enhanced Road Safety Transfer Payment Program to help align Canadian jurisdictions on road safety and connected and automated vehicles and announced 22 projects that focus on technology for impaired or distracted driving, commercial drivers, and technological innovation.

Digital services

Following the launch of the “myTC Account” in May 2018, Transport Canada has continued to focus on digitizing services.

Since launching a feature to allow car dealerships to submit zero-emission vehicles claims digitally in May 2019, we have processed approximately 59,000 of these claims.

In January 2019, Transport Canada launched the Drone Management Portal. The portal provides Canadians with end-to-end services for registering drones, taking online exams and issuing drone pilot certificates. Since its launch:

  • 83,319 accounts have been created
  • 56,145 drones have been registered, and
  • 54,829 drone pilot certificates have been issued

An online drone incident report form now allows the public to easily report drone incidents.

Transport Canada partnered with the National Research Council to create a drone site selection tool, an interactive map to help drone pilots understand airspace and find a place to fly.

By 2022, Transport Canada will launch digital solutions for vessel registration, seafarer credential and marine insurance certification services. These will replace paper-based processes and create accessible, efficient and client-centered services.

Novel regulatory approaches


Transport Canada worked with industry to arrange the regulatory approvals required for 2 drone test ranges in Foremost, Alberta and Alma, Quebec. These facilities provide a controlled operating environment for drone manufacturers and businesses to test the safety and reliability of the technology.

To support the drone industry, Transport Canada created a three phase strategy for beyond-visual line-of-sight operations. Between August 2019 and November 2020, we issued 52 Special Flight Operations Certificates for lower-risk beyond-visual line-of-sight drone use, with more to come. We will use the information we gain through these certificates, trials and pilot projects to help us develop regulatory amendments to the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

Aircraft manufacturing

To support the Canadian aircraft manufacturing industry, Transport Canada proposed a one-year pilot project to train Ministerial Delegates and give them the authority to issue one-off flight permits with certain aircraft manufacturers during the manufacturing process within a safe and controlled environment. The goal of this project is to make Canada’s regulations more efficient and flexible for aircraft manufacturers. The pilot project was delayed due to the pandemic, but should launch in 2022.

Transporting dangerous goods

Based on feedback from stakeholders, Transport Canada launched a regulatory sandbox to evaluate the feasibility of adopting electronic shipping documents for dangerous goods shipments in a safe testing environment. To date, three rail companies and two road companies are participating.

Extensive research is being conducted on the needs of first responders in emergency situations and how other countries use shipping documents. We’re testing the use of e-shipping documents in emergency scenarios in certain regions of Canada in 2021. The results of this study will inform future updates to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations in 2022.

Connected and automated vehicles

Transport Canada worked with specialists and funded research into truck platooning technology. This led to a 2020 technical report: Cooperative Truck Platooning (CTP): Considerations for On-Road Trials and Pilot Testing in Canada (PDF, 2.3 MB).

In October 2020, Transport Canada published a request for proposals to conduct on-road platooning trials in Canada. The contract will be awarded in winter 2021, with closed track testing beginning in spring 2021, and an on-road trial in summer/fall 2021.

Regulatory reviews in other sectors

Related links