Regulations and You

Regulations and You




Authorities and Processes Leading to the Suspension or Cancellation of Canadian Aviation Documents 

by Jean-François Mathieu, LL.B., Chief, Aviation Enforcement, Standards, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada 

This is the first of a series of articles describing the authorities and processes that Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) employs to address safety issues and non-compliance through the suspension or cancellation of Canadian aviation documents (CAD). Recently published TCCA internal guidance material will be described and explained in order to help CAD holders better understand the applicable legal authorities and TCCA processes used in the suspension or cancellation of a CAD.

TCCA is responsible for the enforcement of regulatory compliance with respect to civil aviation activities in Canada. Regulatory compliance is essential in developing and maintaining a safe air transportation system. While conducting compliance oversight activities, TCCA may become aware of safety-related non-compliance issues. Under such circumstances, TCCA may decide to suspend or cancel a CAD in order to prevent further risks related to non-compliant activity.

CAD is defined in section 3(1) of the Aeronautics Act (the Act) as being “any licence, permit, accreditation, certificate or other document issued by the Minister under Part I [of the Act] to or with respect to any person or in respect of any aeronautical product, aerodrome, facility or service.” Section 6.6 of the Act further states that for the purposes of the authorities contained in the Act to suspend or cancel a CAD, it includes any privilege accorded by such documents. Typically, we think of a CAD as being some type of certificate issued by the Minister, such as a pilot’s or AME’s licence, or an air operator certificate, however given the broad definition in section 3 of the Act, CADs can range from Ministerial delegations (such as a Minister’s delegate–maintenance, or approved check pilot) to such things as an air traffic service operations certificate for NAV CANADA. Additionally, specific privileges listed in a certificate, such as an individual rating on a licence, or an operations specification on air operator certificate, can also be considered as a CAD for the purpose of suspension or cancellation.

The Act gives the Minister the authority to suspend or cancel CADS on specific grounds. The grounds are stated in sections 6.9 to 7.21 of the Act. Additionally, section 6.8 of the Act authorizes the creation of regulations specifying conditions (grounds), other than those stated in sections 6.9 to 7.21, where the Minister may suspend or cancel a CAD. Following is a brief explanation of the grounds specified in each of these sections of the Act.

Section 6.9 is a type of suspension or cancellation that is carried out strictly as a punitive measure, and is assessed as a deterrent against future contraventions. This suspension or cancellation is not used to address current safety-related non-compliance situations; it is assessed in terms of events that have occurred in the past. It does not address current safety issues, other than indirectly, by providing a deterrent against further non-compliance.

Section 7.(1) is a type of suspension (since only suspension may be assessed for this reason) that is assessed to address an immediate threat to aviation safety. It is assessed immediately upon the discovery of an immediate threat to aviation safety and is terminated when the threat is neutralized.

Section 7.1(1) is a type of suspension or cancellation that is assessed to address current safety-related non-compliance situations. It is not considered to be punitive, but rather is intended to address existing significant safety-related non-compliance situations. There are three very specific grounds for suspension or cancellation under this section of the Act

Section 7.21(1) outlines the suspension, refusal to issue, amend or renew a CAD because a person was previously assessed a monetary penalty as a punitive measure for a contravention of a regulation, and hasn’t paid it.

In order to help clarify the various legal authorities (for suspending and cancelling CADs) for TCCA inspectors involved in oversight of civil aviation activities, three new staff instructions (SI) have been drafted and published on the TCCA Documentation Framework Web site. These SIs explain the broader legal concepts surrounding the suspension or cancellation of a CAD rather than the specific circumstances or oversight procedures. Although these SIs apply specifically to TCCA personnel, they could be a valuable tool for CAD holders to assist them in an understanding of the suspension or cancellation process. The three SIs relate to the suspension or cancellation of CADs under the authority of section 7 and section 7.1, and suspensions or cancellations under the authority of the few CAR provisions made under the authority of section 6.8 of the Act.

The punitive suspension process described in section 6.9 is not discussed in these SIs, as it has long been described in the Aviation Enforcement Policy Manual. Also, section 7.21 of the Act is not discussed in this article, as it has been recently discussed in a previous ASL article and does not relate to safety matters, just financial concerns. If money is owed for a fine, it must be paid or the associated CAD may be suspended.

TCCA encourages CAD holders to read and understand the content of these three new SIs. They will help in understanding the Minister’s authority, as well as a CAD holder’s compliance responsibilities. These SIs can be found at the following Web addresses:;; and

Future articles will cover each of the SIs in greater detail.

Looking for AIP Canada (ICAO) Supplements and Aeronautical Information Circulars (AIC)?

As a reminder to all pilots and operators, AIP Canada (ICAO) supplements and AICs are found online on the NAV CANADA Web site ( Pilots and operators are strongly encouraged to stay up to date with these documents by visiting the NAV CANADA Web site at the following link: “Aeronautical Information Products”.

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