Aviation Enforcement Program: Here for Aviation Safety

Aviation Enforcement

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The Civil Aviation Program

Transport Canada's Civil Aviation Program oversees the safety of civil aviation in Canada.

There are 1 400 program specialists working closely with our aviation partners in Canada and around the world to set and encourage compliance with Canadian aeronautics legislation.

What is Canadian aeronautics legislation?

Canadian aeronautics legislation comprises the Aeronautics Act, the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and the associated standards.

The legislation was created to protect the public from potentially unsafe aviation practices and activities.

The CARs are developed by Transport Canada in partnership with the aviation community through the Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council (CARAC).

Who we are and what we do

The Civil Aviation enforcement team is composed of inspectors at Headquarters, in five regional offices and in Transport Canada centres across the country.

We are responsible for encouraging voluntary compliance with and enforcing the Canadian aeronautics legislation. When necessary, we investigate alleged violations of this legislation.

Our approach

We recognize that voluntary compliance with the Canadian aeronautics legislation is the most progressive and effective approach to aviation safety.

Voluntary compliance is based on the idea that members of the aviation community have a shared interest, commitment, and responsibility to aviation safety, and will operate on the basis of:

  • common sense;
  • personal responsibility; and
  • respect for others.

Our Partners – Members Of The Aviation Community

Canada has one of the largest aviation communities in the world, with over 6 million aircraft movements annually. Its domestic and international airspace is one of the largest in the world – totaling approximately 15 million square kilometers.

A Shared Commitment - A Shared Responsibility

Maintaining a high level of safety depends on a partnership among members of the aviation community based on a shared responsibility and a shared commitment to aviation safety. There are approximately 890 regulations in the CARs for which non-compliance constitutes an offence. These apply to all sectors of the aviation community.

  • Aviation licence holders

With approximately 75 000 pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers (AME), Canada has the world's second largest population of aviation licence holders. Currently, this number increases by 6 000 a year.

  • Aircraft owners

Canada's aviation aircraft fleet is the second largest in the world – 28 000 registered aircraft.

  • Aerospace industry

Canada's aerospace manufacturing sector is the sixth largest in the world. It is experiencing unprecedented growth, with approximately 1 500 new and modified aeronautical products approved each year.

  • Aircraft maintenance

Canada's 1 240 approved maintenance organizations (AMO) and approximately 10 700 AMEs assist in ensuring that all aeronautical products in Canada meet national and international airworthiness standards.

  • Air operators

From international scheduled services to small one-aircraft charter companies, 2 135 commercial air operators are certified to provide service within or into Canada. Canada is also home to 126 private operators.

The Enforcement Philosophy: what it does for aviation safety

We promote and apply a policy of fairness and firmness by:

  • encouraging open communication between alleged offenders and enforcement inspectors, especially in cases where there are mitigating circumstances;
  • providing oral counselling for minor violations where there is no threat to aviation safety;
  • informing offenders of their right to have penalties reviewed by the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada TATC. The TATC is an independent quasi-judicial body separate from Transport Canada; and
  • ensuring that repeat offenders and those who willfully disregard aviation safety are dealt with firmly.


We promote voluntary compliance through:

  • education,
  • publicity,
  • co-operation and consultation with the aviation community, and
  • routine inspections and field operations.


We learn of possible violations of the regulations through:

  • routine inspections,
  • field operations conducted by civil aviation safety inspectors,
  • police reports,
  • air traffic service personnel,
  • aircraft accident investigations, and
  • public complaints.


We investigate occurrences and alleged violations of the regulations to ascertain whether or not a violation has occurred.


An appropriate penalty must be considered once an investigation has determined that a violation has occurred.

When determining the appropriate penalty, we consider the seriousness of the violation.

Our aim is to:

  • protect the public and the offender from possible harm, and
  • encourage future compliance with the regulations by the offender and others.

Depending on the violation, deterrent action may include:

  • oral counselling,
  • a monetary penalty,
  • a document suspension, or
  • prosecution.

For repeated and deliberate violations where aviation safety is jeopardized, actions may include:

  • increased monetary penalties,
  • suspension of aviation documents,
  • court-imposed fines,
  • jail terms, and
  • the forfeiture of aircraft.

Do I have An obligation to report violations?

There is no legal obligation to report violations. However, aviation safety is a shared commitment and responsibility. It is in everyone's best interests that violations be reported.

How do I report a violation?

You can call either contact:

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