Modernizing the Canadian Aviation Regulations: Helicopter, heliport and commercial aircraft operations

Transport Canada (TC) is transforming the way we deliver our programs and services, to better serve Canadians and to adapt to a changing world. As part of this work, we’re reviewing and modernizing the regulations we oversee, including the Canadian Aviation Regulations and related standards to make them more agile, responsive and risk based.

This work has focused on dealing with more than a thousand issues with the Canadian Aviation Regulations. These issues were raised through different means, including a public consultation. The goal of this consultation was to speak with stakeholders, partners and the public about Canada’s aviation safety regulations. It gave stakeholders a chance to provide input directly to the Aviation Safety Regulatory Review Team.

We held a public consultation between January and June 2020 to get input on issues with regulations for helicopter operations, heliports, and commercial aircraft operations. Stakeholders were asked to identify specific issues they had with helicopter/heliport and commercial aircraft operations and that related to Part III, Part VI and Part VII in the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

We received 417 visits to the consultation site and received five online submissions, constituting 11 comments. The stakeholders who provided feedback included representatives from the aviation industry, and included Canadian air carriers and industry associations.

On this page

Key issues

  • Regional differences in how inspectors interpret and apply regulations and standards
    • There’s no way for stakeholders to get advice or help from TC Headquarters. For example:
      • Interim Heliport Certificates are not applied equally across regions. Some regions don’t even know that interim certificates are available.
      • Sometimes Principle Operations Inspector’s (POIs) don’t understand Plans of Construction Operations (PCOs). This means that some regions don’t understand that these plans can be used by airports and heliports to document temporary changes to their operation manuals.
  • Gaps in obstacle marking and lighting requirements, which has led to inconsistencies in the requirements application
  • Confusion about:
    • the connection between the obstacle limitation surface and the publish slope information
    • the use of visual glide slope indicator lighting systems for heliports
    • what characteristics are required for an 85 metre "obstacle free zone"
    • applying the regulations for night tours completed by a Helicopter AOC (Air Operator’s Certificate) under 702 aerial work
  • Outdated statement in Part III of the regulations that addresses the use of the requirement for a final approach and take off with obstacle limitation surface at an airport
  • If an aircraft operator is granted an exemption (special permission) to use night-vision goggles for nighttime landings and take-off, the airport/heliport must still make sure that they comply with any related regulations and standards
    • The airport would need a similar exemption
  • Major differences between the regulations and the Heliport Lighting Standards, specifically when it comes to heliport lighting requirements
    • This has led to regional differences in how each are applied

The issues identified in this consultation fall into three themes:

  • Harmonizing regulations and standards
  • Supporting material, regulations and guidance
  • Updating definitions

These issues will be further analyzed and added to the multi-year work plan for regulatory reviews. Any off-topic feedback that we received was sent to the relevant TC team. Those off-topic items will feed into TC’s future work, especially items that need extensive policy development.

Find more information on this project and the Civil Aviation branch’s forward plan in the Transportation Sector Regulatory Review Roadmap and the Forward Regulatory Plan.

Next steps

The Civil Aviation branch will continue to look into specific issues and ask stakeholders for feedback. Find the latest updates on this project

Please send questions or feedback to the Aviation Safety Regulatory Review team:  

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