Staff Instruction (SI) No. 500-003


Aircraft Certification Level of Involvement

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Issuing Office: Standards    
PAA Sub Activity Area:
Aviation Safety Regulatory Framework SI No.: 500-003
File Classification No: Z 5000-32 Issue No.: 02
RDIMS No.: 6209345-V27 Effective Date: 2011-06-10


1.1 Purpose

(1) The purpose of this Staff Instruction (SI) is to describe how Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) employs its Level of Involvement (LOI) principles to perform surveillance of ministerial delegates when those delegates are exercising their delegated authority during all types of aeronautical product design approval activities.

1.2 Applicability

(1) This document applies to:

  1. TCCA Headquarters and regional personnel involved in design approval projects; and
  2. Aircraft Certification Ministerial Delegates involved in design approval projects.

1.3 Description of Changes

(1) Issue 02 of SI 500-003 has incorporated the following changes and improvements:

  1. Clarified LOI principles related to the Program Activity Architecture (PAA);
  2. Clarified responsibilities and accountabilities related to the introduction of subpart 521 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs);
  3. Added new definitions to section 2.3 to clarify the intent and implementation of LOI; and
  4. Incorporated minor editorial changes and updated references based on lessons learned and best practices since the introduction of Issue 01 of this SI.


2.1 Reference Documents

(1) It is intended that the following reference materials be used in conjunction with this document:

  1. Aeronautics Act (R.S., 1985, c. A-2);
  2. Part V, Subpart 21 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs)—Approval of the Type Design or Change to the Type Design of an Aeronautical Product;
  3. Chapter 505 of the Airworthiness Manual (AWM)—Delegation of Authority; and
  4. Aviation Safety Program Manual for the Civil Aviation Directorate – Issue 01, 2009-04-01.

2.2 Cancelled Documents

Not applicable.

Note: By default, it is understood that the publication of a new issue of a document automatically renders any earlier issues of the same document null and void.

2.3 Definitions and Abbreviations

(1) The following definitions and abbreviations are used in this document:

  1. Accountability: the obligation to answer for an action. Accountability cannot be delegated.
  2. Certification Plan: a document that clearly identifies the means and methods by which an aeronautical product will be shown to comply with the applicable airworthiness requirements where the airworthiness requirements are identified in the certification basis of the aeronautical product. It is a mandatory document requirement of Sections 521.28 and 521.155 of the CARs.
  3. Delegation of Authority: a privilege granted by the Minister under the Aeronautics Act, where the delegate is responsible to the Minister for performing their authorized functions. In the context of product certification, the Ministerial delegation of authority normally consists of the authority to make a finding of compliance to design standards and in some cases, issue the design approval document.
  4. Finding of Compliance (FOC): A Ministerial determination that the applicant’s compliance demonstration satisfies a requirement specified in the certification basis.
  5. Demonstration of Compliance: The applicant’s demonstration that the type design of their aeronautical product complies with the certification basis for that aeronautical product.
  6. Level of Involvement (LOI): the activities undertaken by TCCA specialists during a product certification activity in performing surveillance of the delegate when the delegate is exercising their delegated authority.
  7. Project: an aeronautical product approval process involving approval of a type design or change to a type design.
  8. Responsibility: the obligation to act. Responsibility can be delegated.
  9. PAA: Program Activity Architecture specified by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) as the structure that links all Transport Canada programs and activities to its strategic outcomes.
  10. Service: for the purpose of aeronautical design approvals, this means the part of the aviation safety oversight activity Program Activity Architecture (PAA that supports individuals and organizations seeking design approval and for the continued airworthiness of their aeronautical product. More on PAA can be found in section 5.0 of this document.
  11. Surveillance: for the purpose of aeronautical design approvals, this means the part of the civil aviation safety oversight activity (PAA that provides for discretionary overview of delegated activities associated with aeronautical product design approvals and continued airworthiness.


(1) Over the past few years, fundamental principles of delegation were clearly identified and an LOI concept was developed by applying the risk based methodology from the Civil Aviation Business Model to TCCA’s surveillance of Ministerial delegates. This Civil Aviation business model is described in the Aviation Safety Program Manual. This method facilitated efficient and effective participation of TCCA resources in the certification process. The concept of LOI to define TCCA’s activities in a certification project has been used for some time, and a formal policy was published in February 2008 (SI 500-003 Issue 01).

(2) The implementation of LOI had been gradual and lessons were learned from its implementation. Concurrently, the Government of Canada introduced a PAA that standardized activities across all departments to facilitate performance measurement reporting.

(3) Aircraft certification delegates should become familiar with the contents of this SI, as completion of the LOI activity by TCCA specialists is required prior to issuing a design approval, whether or not the delegate is issuing the approval.

(4) Although subpart 521 of the CARs introduced a change in terminology from “compliance” to “conformity” this SI will be using “compliance” wherever possible to minimize confusion in this document.

Note: In December 2010, a Notice of Proposed Amendment to subpart 521 of the CARs (NPA 2010-021) was introduced to revert the terminology “conform” and “conformity” back to “comply” and “compliance”.


(1) Although some of the process elements described in this SI may not exist in the same form for Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), Repair Design Approval (RDA) or Part Design Approval (PDA) projects, the same principles still apply in as much as the definition and philosophy of LOI is concerned.


(1) The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) approved Transport Canada’s PAA in June 2008. This PAA is the structure that links all Transport Canada programs and activities to the Strategic Outcomes (SO) to which they contribute as follows:

  1. An efficient Transportation System – Strategic Outcome – SO 1;
  2. A clean Transportation System – SO 2;
  3. A safe transportation System – SO 3;
    1. 3.1.1 – Aviation Safety Regulatory Framework falls under the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Standards Branch and is considered to be a Service activity;
    2. 3.1.2 – Aviation Safety Oversight falls under the responsibility of the National Aircraft Certification Branch (NAC), National Operations and the Regions and is considered to be both a Service and Surveillance activity; and
  4. A secure Transportation System – SO 4.

(2) Although TCCA has a role in each of the four strategic outcomes, its primary mandate is focused on the aviation safety (SO 3) through two activities; Aviation Safety Regulatory Framework (PAA 3.1.1) and Aviation Safety Oversight (PAA 3.1.2). The Aviation Safety Oversight consists of two sub-activities; Service to the Aviation Industry (PAA and Surveillance of the Aviation System (PAA This SI describes how LOI relates to those TCCA sub-activities as specified by the PAA. Figure 1 depicts the oversight model for aeronautical product design organizations as implemented by NAC and Regional aircraft certification offices. From figure 1 it is noted that LOI forms one of three components of the surveillance model.

Figure 1 Oversight Activities for Aircraft Certification


(1) TCCA, on behalf of the Minister, plays an active role in aeronautical product design approval projects to fulfill its responsibilities under the Aeronautics Act, subpart 521 of the CARs and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). TCCA performs oversight of enterprises involved in aeronautical product design approvals, which includes surveillance of delegate’s activities. The type and extent of the TCCA activities (i.e. surveillance of the delegate) undertaken during the design approval process is determined in accordance with:

  1. LOI risk criteria for the purpose of defining surveillance activities and the system the delegate uses as outlined in their Design Approval Procedures Manual or Engineering Procedures Manual; and
  2. Where TCCA provides the service to the applicant (see Figure 1), TCCA specialists and Ministerial Delegates represent the Minister in determining that the applicant’s demonstration of compliance satisfies the requirements specified in the certification basis by making findings of compliance (FOC) and, where authorized to do so, issue approvals. Delegates exercise their delegated authority within a scope of authorization that is specified in a Letter of Authorization issued by the Director, NAC.

(2) The certification process involves activities performed by both the applicant and the Minister. These activities involve four distinct areas where the applicant and the Minister have specific roles as follows:

6.1  Applicants Role

6.1.1 Demonstration of Compliance

(1) Per subsection 521.33(a) or 521.160(a) of the CARs, the applicant has an obligation to demonstrate to the Minister how the type design or change to the type design complies with its certification basis.

6.1.2 Declaration of Demonstration of Conformity

(1) Per subsection 521.33(b) or 521.160(a) of the CARs, the applicant has an obligation to submit to the Minister a declaration attesting to the demonstration of conformity of the aeronautical product with its certification basis. This declaration is a single written statement provided to the Minister that the type design or change to the type design has been demonstrated to conform with the applicable certification basis. This declaration is not a delegate responsibility since the demonstration of conformity is a distinct activity from the FOC. FOC are solely the responsibility of the Minister.

Note: Although the word “conformity” is used here to match the current regulation, the word “compliance” may also be used.

6.2  Minister’s Role

6.2.1 Findings of Compliance

(1) The Minister is solely responsible to make FOC attesting that a requirement of the type design or change to the type design satisfies the applicable certification basis.

6.2.2 Design Approval

(1) Only appropriately delegated TCCA personnel or external delegates can issue the design approval documents once:

  1. The applicant has submitted their declaration of conformity;
  2. All FOC have been completed, and the TCCA specialist has completed the delegate surveillance (LOI) and recorded the completion; and
  3. It has been established that in the case of an aircraft, no feature or characteristic makes the aircraft unsafe.


(1) TCCA’s oversight responsibilities consist of both service and surveillance activities as described in the Transport Canada PAA and as depicted in Figure 1 in Section 5.0 of this SI. LOI is intended to increase flexibility in some of the risk sensitive aspects of type certification programs. LOI and the Delegation of Authority ensure that the type design or change to the type design of an aeronautical product complies with the certification basis established for the product and confirms that the applicant’s design is eligible for approval.

(2) Where an external delegate is exercising their delegated authority, TCCA uses the LOI process to identify and manage the participation of TCCA specialists in the surveillance of external delegates during activities leading up to findings of compliance.

(3) Where an external delegate is not exercising their delegated authority, the TCCA activities constitute services to the applicant. LOI can only be applied where the person is actively involved as an external delegate.

(4) Details on the role of TCCA specialists, delegates and applicants during Phase III of the certification process – Demonstrate and Record Compliance are provided in section 9.3 of this SI.


(1) LOI is determined using risk-based principles. LOI will be greater where the risk of non-compliance of type design of an aeronautical product would result in a more serious consequence. Because of the complexity of the certification process, the design of aeronautical products and the subjective nature of many design requirements, LOI cannot be established using a single approach. LOI is established on a case-by-case basis using various criteria. The criteria are influenced by a number of risk factors associated with the aeronautical product, the applicant or the delegate, including but not limited to (risk factors shown in parenthesis):

  1. The characteristics of the product design — (product)
    1. Functional criticality;
    2. Design complexity;
    3. Novelty of product or design change; and
    4. New or novel product manufacturing process
  2. The applicant’s capability (applicant):
    1. Technical capability;
    2. Experience in the particular design/compliance approach; and
    3. Routine versus non-routine project.
  3. The delegate’s design / compliance knowledge (delegation);
    1. Experience in the particular design / compliance approach;
    2. The delegate’s authorized scope of delegation;
    3. Delegate resources; and
    4. Delegate’s past performance
  4. The basis of certification (product):
    1. New amendments, special conditions, findings of equivalent safety, exemptions, foreign requirements;
    2. Need for subjective assessments to establish compliance;
    3. New or novel means and methods of demonstrating compliance; and
    4. Lack of adequate guidance material
  5. TCCA requirements (delegate):
    1. Oversight of the delegate’s activities
    2. External factors (product/applicant/delegate):
    3. Exceptional public interest; and
    4. Management of bilateral issues with other authorities


(1) The elements of the domestic design approval process can be applied equally to large design approval projects as well as smaller projects such as changes to a type design. The guidance material for all design approval projects have the same breakdown of phases as listed below as well as the same LOI principles and definitions.

9.1 Phase I – Application and Establishing Certification Basis

(1) Phase I includes the initiation of the project, application for design approval by the applicant, initial product design familiarization by TCCA and foreign authorities where applicable, the submission of preliminary or draft certification plans, and finally the Initial Type Board or equivalent meeting.

(2) The two main outputs of Phase I are the agreed basis of certification and draft certification plans provided by the applicant. The certification plans at this stage consist of a description of the proposed means and methods of compliance against the basis of certification. These draft certification plans become the starting point for determination of acceptable means and methods of compliance with TCCA, as well as the basis upon which TCCA will specify its LOI, as discussed in Phase II.

(3) In the PAA context, the role of TCCA within Phase I is solely a service to the Applicant. LOI is not conducted in Phase I, as activities related to the familiarization with the product design and the development of the basis of certification, via Changed Product Rule where applicable, are in fact necessary prerequisites for any TCCA defined LOI, and are accomplished regardless of the LOI that is eventually defined.

9.2 Phase II – Establishing Means and Methods of Compliance and Transport Canada Civil Aviation Level Of Involvement

(1) Phase II consists of a series of reviews and meetings aimed at seeking concurrence on the proposed means and methods of compliance. As the compliance demonstration planning activities are established through these reviews, TCCA will specify its LOI, using LOI risk criteria defined in section 8.0 of this SI.

(2) There is an expectation that TCCA will respond to items where LOI is identified. Examples of LOI activities include:

  1. Reviewing test plans (or software review plans);
  2. Witnessing selected certification tests;
  3. Participating in certification tests (flight tests);
  4. Reviewing test data and analysis;
  5. Reviewing compliance reports;
  6. Conducting software process reviews;
  7. Conducting engineering surveys or inspections;
  8. Reviewing Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA); and
  9. Witnessing conformity inspections.

(3) The LOI is documented and provides a clear definition of where TCCA will be conducting surveillance of the delegate by being involved in the applicant’s demonstration of conformity. The applicant is expected to include TCCA’s LOI in their planning for Phase III.

(4) It should be noted that although the LOI is established at the end of Phase II, it is subject to change throughout the certification process for various reasons such as changes in design, failed tests, changes in means and methods of compliance, differences in interpretation of data/information and changes in the scope or availability of delegates. It is also emphasized that concerns identified by the TCCA specialists during the certification program must be addressed as early as possible, whether they are related to LOI or not, in order not to impact the approval of the type design or change to the type design in Phase IV. The output of Phase II is the agreed certification plan that defines the applicant’s responsibility and participation of the TCCA specialists throughout the demonstration of conformity.

(5) In the PAA context, the role of TCCA within Phase II is solely a service to the applicant.

9.3 Phase III Demonstrate and Record Compliance

(1) Phase III consists of the execution of the conformity demonstrations by the applicant and the making of findings of compliance by the Minister (delegate or appropriately delegated TCCA specialist). Phase III is the phase where LOI is actually conducted if a delegate is involved. If a delegate is not involved, TCCA’s certification activities with the applicant are considered a service to the applicant, as TCCA will be responsible for the FOC in these areas. As the certification demonstration progresses, LOI will be conducted and signed off / tracked by the TCCA specialist as part of the completion record.

9.3.1 Demonstration of Compliance

(1) The applicant declares that they have demonstrated that the type design or change to the type design complies with its certification basis by submitting the signed declaration of demonstration of conformity, and thus be in a position to request the issuance of the design approval.

(2) The applicant will have demonstrated to the Minister that, in the case of an aircraft, no feature or characteristic makes the aircraft unsafe, taking into account the category in which certification is requested.

9.3.2 Findings of Compliance

(1) FOC should be recorded and tracked by the applicant. The Minister as represented by the TCCA specialist or Ministerial delegate shall make FOC to the applicable certification basis. Where it is within their defined scope of authority, delegates will make the FOC and surveillance will be applied as per this SI.

(2) Where it is outside the delegate’s defined scope of authority, the TCCA specialist will make the FOC as a service.

(3) In the context of the PAA, the role of TCCA within Phase III will vary depending to what degree the delegate is involved. It is important to be clear on who is responsible for making the FOC – it is either the delegate, or the TCCA specialist, not both. The responsibility to make an FOC and the role of TCCA depends on the delegate’s scope as specified in their Letter of Authorization as follows:

  1. Design Standard is in the Delegate’s Scope
    1. Accountability – Minister;
    2. Responsibility for FOC – Delegate; and
    3. TCCA activities (if any) are termed LOI (SURVEILLANCE as per the PAA);
  2. (b) Design Standard not in the Delegate’s Scope
    1. Accountability – Minister;
    2. Responsibility for FOC – TCCA specialist; and
    3. TCCA activities are NOT LOI (SERVICE as per the PAA).

9.3.3 Completion of LOI

(1) At this point in time, the demonstration of compliance will be complete and both TCCA specialists and the delegates will have completed all FOC on the certification plan. LOI must be completed before the issuance of an approval. The completion of LOI shall be recorded.

(2) At the end of Phase III, the following milestones will have been reached:

  1. The delegate has made an FOC against all elements in the certification basis within their scope of authority;
  2. The LOI will be declared completed by TCCA and recorded. The FOC will be completed for those areas outside the delegate’s scope by the TCCA specialist including the Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM), and Airworthiness Limitations (AWL) of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness; and
    Note: A delegate’s scope can include FOCs against the AFM and AWL, however by policy TCCA approves the AFM and AWL.
  3. The LOI will be declared completed by TCCA and recorded.

9.4 Phase IV – Type Design Approval

(1) Phase IV of the certification process primarily consists of the approval of the type design or change to the type design. Phase IV is all service, no surveillance. The service includes approval of the documentation e.g. AWL and AFM (if not already approved in Phase III).

(2) During this phase the applicant will also submit a declaration of the signed undertaking to carry out the responsibilities under Division VIII of subpart 521 of the CARs.

9.4.1 TCCA Issued Design Approvals

(1) TCCA will issue the design approval where the delegate does not have the appropriate scope of authority and the conditions of sections 521.57, 521.109 or 521.160 of the CARs have been met.

9.4.2 Delegate Issued Approvals

(1) Where the delegate has the authority to approve a design change, they may issue the approval upon completion of all FOC, the applicant’s declaration of conformity, and notification that TCCA’s LOI is complete. No other formal recommendation is required from TCCA.

(2) TCCA recognizes that it may be possible to include procedures in the Design Approval Procedures manual, or Engineering Procedures manual that establish thresholds below which TCCA LOI is not anticipated for new type designs or type design changes. The intent is to identify situations where LOI should be anticipated by the delegate and contact with their TCCA counterpart should be initiated to facilitate the LOI.

9.5 Phase V – Post Certification Design Changes

(1) The LOI process is still applicable as above for type design changes.


Suggestions for amendment to this document are invited, and should be submitted via the Transport Canada Civil Aviation Issues Reporting System (CAIRS) at the following Internet address:

or by e-mail at: Attn: Chief, Aircraft Certification Standards

[original signed by]

Jacqueline Booth
A/Director, Standards
Civil Aviation
Transport Canada

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