Staff Instruction (SI) No. REG-010

Processing Exemptions from Airport Zoning Regulations

Internal documents and documents hyperlinked and stored on
Transport Canada's intranet mentioned in this document
are available upon request. See Contact Office below.

Issuing Office: Standards
PAA Sub Activity Area: Aviation Safety Regulatory Framework Document No.: SI REG-010
Classification File  No.: Z 5000-32 U Issue No: 01
RDIMS No.: 4988433-V14 Effective Date: 2011-02-18


1.1  Purpose

    The purpose of this document is to provide procedures on processing exemptions from airport zoning regulations.

    1.2  Applicability

    This document applies to Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) Headquarters and regional personnel involved in airport zoning.

    1.3  Description of Changes

    Not Applicable.


    2.1  Reference Documents

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

      1. Aeronautics Act

      2. Part I, Subpart 04 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) – Charges;

      3. Standard 621 of the CARs – Standards Obstruction Markings;

      4. CivilAviation Directive (CAD) REG-003, Issue 01 dated 2009-10-01 — Exemptions from Regulatory Requirements;

      5. Staff Instruction (SI) 300-001, Issue 01 dated 2009-12-29 - Airport Zoning;

      6. Transport Canada Publication, TP 312, Edition 04 dated March 1993 – Aerodromes Standards and Recommended Practices (revised 03/2005);

      7. Transport Canada Environmental Assessment Manual, Revised June 2004.

    2.2  Cancelled Documents

    Not Applicable.

    2.3  Definitions and Abbreviations

    The following definitions and abbreviations are used in this document:

    1. AZR: Airport Zoning Regulation;

    2. CAD: Civil Aviation Directive;

    3. CARs: Canadian Aviation Regulations;

    4. NAVAID: Navigational Aid;

    5. NOTAM: Notice to Airmen;

    6. SEA: Strategic Environmental Assessment;

    7. Exemption: means a document signed by a delegated official permitting a person to act outside the normal regulatory requirements;

    8. RDIMS: Records, Documents and Information Management Systems;

    9. Risk Assessment: means a process conducted to understand the hazards and risks and determine the level of risk associated with an activity.


    1. Under sub-section 5.9(2) of the Aeronautics Act, the Minister of Transport or an authorized officer may exempt a party from the application of Airport Zoning Regulations (AZRs), if the exemption is in the public interest and not likely to affect aviation safety.

    2. When considering a request for a ministerial exemption from AZRs, Regional personnel shall demonstrate due diligence and document the decision-making process made on behalf of the Minister of Transport.

      Note: CAD REG-003, Issue 01, 2009-10-01 - Exemptions from Regulatory Requirements does not apply to Airport Zoning Regulations.


    1. All required templates and instructions are available in Records, Documents and Information Management System (RDIMS) as working documents for regional Civil Aviation personnel involved in the development of exemptions to AZRs.

    2. Pursuant to sub-section 5.9(2) of the Aeronautics Act, exemption requests can be considered for land uses that would not adversely affect aviation safety or security and the current or future usability of the affected airport, if the proposal is in the public interest.

    3. Exemptions to AZRs will only be granted for natural growth infringements in cases of exceptional circumstances. 


    5.1  Impact Assessment

    1. Either the applicant or the Regional Aerodromes and Air Navigation Office personnel, contacts NAV CANADA to have the proposal assessed for impact on the affected airport’s instrument procedures, radar coverage, NAVAID interference, etc.  Applicants must obtain a letter of no objection from NAV CANADA, which must state the maximum height assessed by NAV CANADA for the proposal.

    2. NAV CANADA’s instructions for submitting proposals and the form for submitting are available at this website:\Services\LandUseProgram\SubmissionProcedures\default.xml

    3. Once in the website, applicants should click on the hotlink for “Submission Form” to download the form, then click on the hotlink for “Regional Contacts” to locate the address, telephone and facsimile for the office that handles submissions from Western or Eastern Canada, as applicable. NAV CANADA’s review process can take up to three months.

    5.2  Obtaining a Letter from the Airport Operator Regarding Impact

    The airport operator provides to the Regional Aerodromes and Air Navigation Office a letter stating that the proposal will either have no operational impact, or that the impact will be mitigated by compensating safety procedures which must be outlined in the letter. 

    5.3  Obtaining a Letter of No Objection from the Land Use Authority

    For permanent objects, the applicant obtains a letter of no objection from the land use authority having jurisdiction over the affected property and provides this to the Regional Aerodromes and Air Navigation Office.  Alternatively, applicants may provide a copy of an approved building permit or development permit from the applicable land use authority.  In either case, the letter or permit must specify the approved use and maximum height authorized by the land use authority.  The airport operator is to provide to the Regional Aerodromes and Air Navigation Office a letter of no objection and recommended mitigation, if required.

    Note: This step does not apply to temporary objects, as they would not have building permits associated with them.

    5.4  Completing an Aeronautical Obstruction Clearance Form

    1. The applicant completes an Aeronautical Obstruction Clearance form.

    2. The form is Appendix C of Section 621.19 of the Standard and can be found at:

    3. Include the following on the form or on an attached sheet:

      1. Maximum height(s) of proposed object(s): If cranes will be used, include height(s) of fixed crane(s) and mobile crane(s), including whether mobile crane(s) will be boomed-down at night;

      2. Length of each horizontal crane boom;

      3. Information on any obstruction lighting or marking on structures located adjacent to the property (this may be considered in a lighting/marking assessment as shielding at least the lower portion of the object).

    5.5  Submitting the Completed Form to the Applicable Regional office of Transport Canada

    1. In order for an exemption request to be considered, the applicant shall submit the following with the application:

      1. $475.00 fee for requesting an exemption. No GST is applicable. The fee can be paid in the following ways; a cheque made payable to the Receiver General for Canada (by mail or in person), cash, debit card or credit card (in person at a Transport Canada Centre or Regional Finance Office);

        The authority for charging this fee is set out in section 104.01 of the CARs, which is accessible at the following website:

        The $475.00 fee is for the assessment of the proposal, not for the issuing of an exemption. Therefore, the fee is required even if the assessment determines that an exemption should not be granted; conversely, only one $475.00 fee is required for a single assessment of a project or development even if more than one exemption results from that assessment (e.g. for a series of cranes).

      2. A copy of the letters from NAV CANADA, the airport operator, and the land use authority (if applicable);

      3. A copy of the submission made to NAV CANADA, including any site plans and technical drawings that depict dimensions and locations of the proposed cranes and structures;

      4. The following information in a covering letter from the owner of the affected property:

        1. Legal name and address of property owner;

        2. Complete legal description of property;

        3. Civic address of the property;

        4. A summary of the purpose of the proposed land use;

        5. The maximum period required for the exemption (if cranes will be used, include proposed start and end dates for each fixed and mobile crane – required for NOTAMs);

        6. A short summary explaining how the exemption would be in the public interest (socio-economic benefits, jobs created, public facilities provided, etc.).

    2. When all of the above information is received from the applicant, the regional inspector for the affected airport then completes the following steps.

    5.6  Completing an Assessment Paper or a Risk Assessment

    Conduct an assessment of the proposal, and complete either an Assessment Paper or a Risk Assessment. Regional Aerodromes and Air Navigation personnel will determine which type and scope of risk assessment is most appropriate for each situation.

    5.7  Preparing the Exemption Document

    1. If the proposed object would also penetrate a certified (TP 312) approach or transitional surface, the inspector must determine if a TP 312 exemption can be considered. If an exemption from TP 312 can be considered, then a TP 312 Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS) exemption would be required for take-off/approach or transitional infringements, in addition to an AZR exemption.  If an exemption from TP 312 cannot be considered, then the exemption from the AZR must be declined.

      Note: A TP 312 OLS exemption is not required for outer surface infringements (see sections,, and of TP 312 which apply only to take-off/approach and transitional surfaces); however, an AZR exemption is required for outer surface penetrations.

    2. Complete lighting and marking assessment of the obstacle, in accordance with Section 621.19 of the Standard and specify the requirements in the conditions section of the exemption.

    5.8  Conducting a Strategic Environmental Assessment

    A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) must be conducted to determine whether and how an exemption will impact the environment. The regional inspector completes a preliminary environmental scan of an SEA and then submits the completed scan to their Environmental Programs branch for review and approval.

    5.9  Issuing a Notice to Airmen

    1. The proponent is to arrange for a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to be issued for any exempted obstacle. NOTAMS must be originated, monitored, extended, updated and/or cancelled by the proponent. NAV CANADA’s maximum effective period for NOTAMS is three months and the proponent inspector is responsible for ensuring that they are extended if the need arises.

    2. An alternative is to consider an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) Supplement for obstacles of longer duration. See example at this link:

    5.10  Saving Exemption Documents in Records, Documents and Information Management Systems

    Create a file in RDIMS, file a copy of the exemption in that file and provide the Zoning and Land Use Officer, Standards Branch, Ottawa with the RDIMS number via email.

    Note: In 1986, it was suggested that a clause be inserted in the exemption form itself indemnifying the Minister against any liability in the event of an exemption being issued. The clause became an agreement attached to the exemption form, which was then signed by the requestor of the exemption. Over the past few years, resistance has been met when requesting indemnification. It was agreed that indemnification agreements are not required and an issue paper to that effect was developed and approved by senior management. Although indemnification agreements between the Crown and the property are not required for exemptions from airports zoning regulations, they are a good idea. This position is subject to change if, in the future, the Minister establishes a department wide policy requiring indemnification agreements with all parties receiving exemptions from any regulations administered by Transport Canada.

    5.11  Writing the Exemption

    1. The following requirements must be respected when writing sections of the exemption:

      1. Title – Must indicate which clause/part of the AZR for which the exemption is being granted. The specific provision in the title of the exemption and the provision set out in the introductory paragraph must match.

      2. Introductory Paragraph – Must refer specifically to sub-section 5.9(2) of the Aeronautics Act and describe what is required in the applicable zoning regulation clause. The exact wording of the legal provision must be reproduced.

      3. Purpose – Must refer to the property by its legal description because the AZRs are defined by legal description. The property’s civic address or geographic coordinates should be included.

      4. Application – Must indicate the full legal name and address of the legal owner of the affected property. For situations with many co-owners, such as condominiums, specify:

        1. “The Owners, Strata Plan # ________________:”

        2. In cases where the exemption must continue valid through a transfer of land ownership, state: “The current and future owners of the real property described above.”

      5. Conditions – May or may not be applicable. However, where there are conditions:

        1. This section must start with the words: “This exemption is subject to the following conditions:”

        2. All conditions are then enumerated, and must be written in complete sentences, using the word “shall”.

        3. It is recommended that the following clause be included in the exemption: “A copy of this exemption shall be maintained on site on the property described above at all times while the exemption is in effect.”

      6. Validity - Exemptions comply with international standards for expressing date and time. For example:

        1. March 31, 2007 at 23:59 Pacific Standard Time;

        2. March 31, 2007 at 23:59 Daylight Time;

        3. 2007-03-31.

      7. Signature - Exemptions granted in the regions must be signed by the Regional Director, Civil Aviation (RDCA), which is the only position in the region that has the delegated authority to grant exemptions pursuant to section 5.9(2) of the Aeronautics Act.

    2. If the exemption will be signed by a person who has the delegated authority to act for the RDCA, the signature block remains the same and the actor signs and adds the word “for” prior to the RDCA’s signature block.


    If it is deemed that an exemption would not be in the public interest or would affect aviation safety and it is decided that the exemption will not be granted, then a letter of denial is to be issued outlining the reasons for the denial. The denial letter may be signed by the Regional Manager, Aerodrome Safety or the RDCA all on the recommendation of the regional inspector for the affected airport.


    1. Exemptions are not normally cancelled unless the reason meets the criteria in the “Validity” section, for example, a condition has been breached OR it has become likely to affect aviation safety OR it is no longer in the public interest.

    2. If an exemption needs to be extended, a new exemption must be issued to commence when the existing exemption expires.

    3. If the information in an existing exemption needs to be amended due to an error, a new exemption is issued with the following additional section inserted after the “Validity” section:


    The exemption from clause ___of the ______________________airport zoning regulations issued to ______________________________, on_________, at _______________________ by____________________, on behalf of the minister of transport, is hereby cancelled and superseded by this exemption, dated ________________________________.”


    For more information, please contact the:

    Standards Branch, Program Manager – Noise Management and Airport Zoning or Zoning and Land Use Officer Standards Branch.

    Phone:     613-993-0959
    Fax:         613-954-1602

    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 e-mail adress: (or Internet address:Civil Aviation Issues Reporting System (CAIRS)).

    Jacqueline Booth
    A/Director, Standards
    Civil Aviation
    Transport Canada

Date modified: