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.
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.
Since November 2006, Canada has concluded Air Transport Agreements (ATAs) covering over 65 countries. As of December 2012, Canada has concluded open agreements with 43 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.
In 2011, Transport Canada (TC) negotiated and expanded ATAs with key tourism in-bound markets such as Brazil, Mexico, India, Japan, and China. Asia and Latin America are currently two regions of focus for the implementation of the Policy in the coming years.
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.