The Blue Sky Policy : Made in Canada, for Canada

On November 27, 2006, the Blue Sky Policy was officially adopted by the Government of Canada. Since its inception, the Policy has become an important vehicle to promote connectivity between all Canadian regions and the world. It has also provided Canadian consumers with more choices in terms of destinations and number of direct flights.

General Approach

The Blue Sky Policy calls for a proactive approach to the liberalization of Air Transport Agreements (ATAs). In particular, it seeks to negotiate reciprocal Open Skies-type agreements when it is in Canada's overall interest to do so. It does not advocate a "one-size-fits-all" undifferentiated approach to air transport negotiations and recognizes that, in some instances, it is justified to be more prudent, especially where there are level-playing field concerns or where new services run the risk of destabilizing existing ones valued by Canadian communities.

Achievements under the Blue Sky Policy: A Snapshot

Since November 2006, Canada has concluded Air Transport Agreements (ATAs) covering close to 80 countries. As of December 2012, Canada has concluded open agreements with 44 countries that cover approximately 72% of Canada's international air traffic. Canada has also concluded or offered an open agreement to countries collectively representing about 91% of Canada's overall international two-way merchandise trade. Only 3% of Canada’s overall international passenger traffic is under agreements/arrangements that impose practical constraints on airlines’ commercial plans.

  1. Open Skies-type agreements with 16 countries: Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, South Korea, El Salvador, Switzerland, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Brazil, Nicaragua, Honduras, Curaçao and Sint Marteen.
  2. Expanded agreements with 18 countries: China, India, Mexico, Japan, Jordan, Singapore, the Philippines, Morocco, Cuba, Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, Malaysia and Ethiopia.
  3. New first-time agreements with 19 countries: Kuwait, Serbia, Croatia, Panama, Tunisia, Qatar, Colombia, Senegal, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Bahrain, Uruguay, Paraguay, the Gambia, Macedonia, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, and Ecuador.
  4. A comprehensive ATA between Canada and the European Union's 28 member states (includes Ireland and Croatia)

In its 2013 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, the World Economic Forum ranked Canada 14th out of 139 countries for the openness of its bilateral agreements. Going forward, Asia and Latin America are two regions of focus for the implementation of the policy.

Looking into the Future

Transport Canada (TC) will continue to seek more Air Transport Agreements (ATAs) to promote the interests of Canadian consumers, as well as our trade and tourism sectors. The outcomes of future negotiations will continue to support a range of federal government policies such as the Economic Action Plan, the Global Commerce Strategy, the Federal Tourism Strategy, Gateways and Corridors Initiatives, and the Americas' Strategy.