Canadian GA Fights Surprise Airport Regs


Canadian GA groups are hoping to head off changes to federal law they say would give the minister of transport unprecedented powers to dictate the operation and development at all the country’s aviation facilities, even the smallest privately owned airstrips. The groups say they were surprised when two short paragraphs showed up in a sweeping budget billnow before Parliament that would give the minister power to “intervene” if he or she thinks operations or development at any of Canada’s 5,000 “aerodromes” threatens public safety or the national interest. Canada’s three classes of airports are now administered by Transport Canada based on policy and law created by Parliament. The two paragraphs would give the minister unilateral ability to go around the bureaucracy and get involved personally in airport disputes. “The powers are unilateral and cannot be challenged,” said Kathy Lubitz, president of the Ultralight Pilots Association of Canada (UPAC). “Therewasno advance notice or consultation with the pilots or aerodrome operators who will be impacted.”

UPAC and the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) have filed briefs (UPAC PDF, COPA PDF) with the parliamentary committee set to discuss the issue this week and have asked to appear before the committee. At an earlier committee meeting, Transport Canada officials confirmed that the intent was to allow direct ministerial intervention based on a “fact-based substantiated complaint,” from local or provincial authorities or members of the public. COPA President Kevin Psutka said the origin of the proposed legislation can be traced to the current minister Lisa Raitt’s desire to allow local input and consultation in airport development and operations.