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Aircraft register

What are the requirements for entry in the domestic aircraft register?

In order to obtain a registration for an aircraft in Canada, Transport Canada requires that the following steps be undertaken:

  • The prospective registrant must ensure that the aircraft meets that Canadian airworthiness requirements.
  • The aircraft may not be registered in any other state. Proof of deregistration from the last country of registry must be provided.
  • The prospective registrant must apply to Transport Canada for an aircraft registration mark. A special mark may be requested for a fee.
  • An application must be made to register the above mark to the aircraft in question.
  • Type-specific documentation must be submitted to Transport Canada with the application, as well as a bill of sale and a photograph of the aircraft identification plate.
  • The registration fee must be paid.

Mortgages and encumbrances

Is there a domestic register for aircraft mortgages, encumbrances and other interests? If so, what are the requirements and legal effects of registration?

There is no domestic registry of this sort in Canada. However, the Cape Town Convention came into force in Canada on April 1 2013, thereby allowing for the registration of Canadian security interests in aircraft objects with the International Registry of Mobile Assets from that date onwards.

Before the Cape Town Convention came into force in Canada, security interests had to be registered separately in each of Canada’s provinces and territories.


What rules and procedures govern the detention of aircraft?

Both NAV Canada, the Canadian provider of air navigation services (under the Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialisation Act RSC 1996, c 20), and airport authorities (under the Airport Transfer (Miscellaneous Matters) Act SC 1992, c 5) have the authority to apply to a court for an order to seize and detain an aircraft where the operator of that aircraft has outstanding fees and charges.

Aircraft are also subject to detention by the local sheriff’s office when the operator is a judgment debtor, provided that all of the usual formalities are carried out.

Safety and maintenance

What rules and procedures govern aircraft safety and maintenance?

The Canadian Aviation Regulations (SOR/96-433) detail the aircraft maintenance requirements, as well as requirements for approved maintenance organisations. Much of the regulation pertaining to these issues comes from self-reporting via the safety management systems (SMS).

Parts 107.02 and 107.03 of the regulations dictate that air operators must establish an SMS system that includes:

  • a safety policy on which the system is based;
  • a process for setting goals for the improvement of aviation safety and for measuring the attainment of those goals;
  • a process for identifying hazards to aviation safety and for evaluating and managing the associated risks;
  • a process for ensuring that personnel are trained and competent to perform their duties;
  • a process for the internal reporting and analysis of hazards, incidents and accidents and for taking corrective actions to prevent their recurrence;
  • a document containing all safety management system processes and a process for making personnel aware of their responsibilities with respect to them;
  • a process for conducting periodic reviews or audits of the safety management system and reviews or audits for cause of the safety management system; and
  • any additional requirements for the safety management system that are prescribed under the Air Transport Regulations (SOR/88-58).

One of the features of the Canadian version of the SMS is the accountable executive, which applies to certain certificate holders (including operators of commercial air services). Under the Canadian system, the accountable executive retains all liability for non-compliance with the regulations.


What is the state of regulation on unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in your jurisdiction?

Canada's regulatory framework under the Canadian Aviation Regulations distinguishes between unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and model aircrafts. A 'model aircraft' is an aircraft with a total weight of 35 kilograms (kg) or less that is used for recreational purposes, while a 'UAV' is defined as a "power-driven aircraft, other than a model aircraft, that is designed to fly without a human operator on board".

Transport Canada commercial operators may obtain special flight operation certificates (SFOCs). While SFOCs are generally time and location-specific and limited, longer-term or blanket authorities are possible where the operator has an established history of approved SFOCs.

Operators that are subject to SFOCs must provide detailed information to Transport Canada, including:

  • the purpose of the operation;
  • the date, time and location of the flight;
  • the boundaries of the area in which the flight will take place; and
  • the safety plans.

To qualify for an exemption from obtaining an SFOC, Transport Canada requires that commercial UAV operators comply with several flight rules and conditions. For example, such operators must have public liability insurance of at least C$100,000 in place and must maintain continuous unaided visual contact with the UAV (visual line of sight piloting).

In March 2017 the minister of transport issued the Interim Order Respecting the Use of Model Aircraft which, among other things, prohibited the operation of drones (weighing 250 grams to 35kg) from flying:

  • higher than 90 metres (m);
  • at night;
  • within 75m of buildings, vehicles or people;
  • within 9 kilometres of the centre of any aerodrome where aircraft take off or land;
  • over forest fires, emergency response scenes or controlled airspace; or
  • without contact information marked on the drone.

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