Advisory Circulars

Commercial & Business Aviation


No. 0162


Exemption from the Flight and Duty Time Limitations for Contracted Air Operator MEDEVAC Service Providers


Subsection 700.16(1) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations limits a flight crew member to a maximum of 14 consecutive hours of duty in any 24 hour period.


For remote location MEDEVAC service providers, the limitation in CAR 700.16(1) has occasionally proven to be too restrictive. There have been instances where only one flight crew was available to transport critically ill patients to adequate medical facilities and that crew’s flight duty limit for that day had already been reached. On the basis of the flight duty restriction in CAR 700.16(1) these subsequent flights have been refused.


Many Canadian communities are isolated, or do not have the means to incorporate adequate medical facilities for trauma care. Air transportation is the only means of timely evacuation for these medical emergencies.

Situations may arise where a critical medical emergency occurs at a remote location and the available air ambulance pilots are at or near their flight and duty time limitations.

Therefore, an emergency extension to the flight and duty time limitations is necessary in order to ensure that timely air transportation is provided for the patient.

The circumstance where a patient in a remote location is critically ill or injured and all available MEDEVAC crews have reached the flight duty time limitations will not occur frequently. On those few occasions when it does, a limited flight duty time extension may result in a small decrease in the level of safety for the required flight; however, this lower level of safety is considered acceptable when balanced against the health risk to the patient.

For that reason, an exemption to subsection 700.16(1) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations has been issued to Canadian Air Operators conducting contracted MEDEVAC operations.

An amendment to subsection 700.16(1) will be drafted in accordance with the Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council (CARAC) procedures to make the provisions of the exemption permanent.


The exemption will apply only to Air Operators holding Air Operator Certificates issued pursuant to subpart 3, 4, and/or 5 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations and who are under contract to provide air ambulance services.

The exemption does not apply to operators whose normal activities do not include MEDEVAC operations, and who are not under contract to provide air ambulance services. No relief to the flight and duty limitations is provided to these "ad hoc" or one-time MEDEVAC operators.

For the purpose of an urgent MEDEVAC, a crew member may extend the flight duty time of a crew member to 17 consecutive hours in a 24 hour period.

The conditions of the exemption include the following:

  1. The patient shall be assessed by an accredited medical authority prior to flight to determine that such a flight is necessary to prevent death.
  2. The pilot in-command shall not conduct the flight unless, after consultation with other crew members, he or she considers it safe to extend the flight and duty time.
  3. Flight and duty time shall not be extended beyond the first location where appropriate medical treatment can be rendered.
  4. No return flight may be made following the disembarkation of the patient until the crew rest requirements have been satisfied.
  5. The minimum rest period shall be increased by an amount equal to the extension to the flight duty time, and
  6. The Air Operator shall inform their Principal Operations Inspector within 24 hours of the circumstances of the extension and provide documentation in support of the medical determination through which the flight was authorized.


The attached exemption will allow contracted MEDEVAC service providers additional flexibility in serving remote locations with limited crew resources.

At the same time, the exemption ensures an adequate level of safety for the flight crews by ensuring that the issue of crew fatigue has been fully addressed.

M.R. Preuss
Commercial & Business Aviation

Commercial & Business Aviation Advisory Circulars (CBAAC) are intended to provide information and guidance regarding operational matters. A CBAAC may describe an acceptable, but not the only, means of demonstrating compliance with existing regulations. CBAACs in and of themselves do not change, create any additional, authorize changes in, or permit deviations from regulatory requirements.

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