Category Archives: COPA at Work


In April 2021, the Federal government presented its latest budget and maintained its Luxury Tax,, although slightly amended, impacting many GA pilots across the nation.

COPA had corresponded with the Federal government in February 2020, strongly opposing the implementation of such a tax on the private aircraft owner community, see here.

There is strength in number and together we can make a difference. We encourage you to send a letter to your MP (find your Member of Parliament). Please feel free to use this template letter and copy COPA in your correspondence.

Attached is the letter COPA sent to the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, by email on April 22, 2021 on behalf of its members and the private aircraft community in general maintaining our strong opposition to this new tax on new private aircraft.

Letter to PM Luxury tax 91

Quebec Superior Court Overturns Anti-Airport Decision

Constitutional Division of Jurisdiction Cited

In a decision rendered last week, a Quebec Superior Court judge overturned a lower court decision that awarded over $145,000 in damages to a group of neighbours who reckoned their properties were devalued due to the noise emanating from Guillaume Narbonne’s ultralight airfield (CCU2) in St. Cuthbert, Quebec.

eFlight readers may recall an article on this issue posted on October 18, 2018, when the judgment was made and Narbonne, a lifetime member of COPA, was ordered to pay each of the 13 plaintiffs $15,000 plus court costs.

In arriving at her decision, the Superior Court judge cited the lack of opportunity given to the attorneys general of both Quebec and Canada to participate, given the constitutional nature of the issue.

COPA played an influential role in the outcome thanks to resources in COPA’s Freedom to Fly Fund.

“This is an excellent example of how our association is working to preserve your freedom to fly,” COPA CEO Christine Gervais told eFlight. “This judgment, while in our favour, may not be final as it works its way through Quebec’s judicial system. We will continue to monitor the process and remain ready to render assistance when and where appropriate.”

Contacted by eFlight, Narbonne said, “I would like to thank in particular COPA and Bernard Gervais, as well as the aviation community for their support and, above all, the team of lawyers who did a remarkable job, namely Mtres Mathieu Quenneville, Elizabeth Cullen and Samuel Bachand.”

Photo credit: ULM Québec

COPA Webinar News

On Wednesday, July 22 COPA members had the opportunity to participate in a live virtual question and answer (Q&A) session with COPA’s President Christine Gervais and Vice-president of Operations JC Audet. The session focused on aviation medicals and safety seminars, both matters which have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Members were asked to submit questions about these topics in advance, and those questions were then answered during the live broadcast on Facebook. Receiving the questions in advance allowed us to research and prepare the most accurate answers possible.

JC Audet played the role of subject matter expert and answered aviation medical questions about telemedicine, medical categories, validity extensions and more. The session also included an update on the future of safety seminars in Canada, previously known as rust removers. JC Audet explained that the safety seminar program is currently being examined by COPA and Transport Canada in an effort to standardize the seminars and focus on the topics that matter most.

The live session was recorded and can now be viewed on our COPA National YouTube channel. In the future, these live sessions will be broadcast simultaneously on Zoom and Facebook to allow more members to participate. Member feedback is always appreciated and can be sent to lnagel@copanational.org, along with ideas for future live session topics.

Top image credit: BRO Vector/iStock

Aerocamping Database Growing

by Jean-Pierre Bonin

My under-the-wing camping database is growing. After two weeks we now have 22 airfields listed in six provinces: 10 in Quebec, seven in Ontario, two in Saskatchewan and one each in British Columbia, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The ‘Atlantic Bubble’ COVID-related travel restrictions should not restrain Atlantic pilots from flying within their region, so please tell us where under-the-wing camping is possible.

Thanks for spreading the word around on this. If you want to add your airport/aerodrome, please contact me by email.

Two weeks ago, we posted a Dropbox link to the PDF of the database that caused some access or readability problems for some. You might find it easier to follow this link instead.

Photo credit: J-P Bonin

COPA AGM Unique in Many Ways

This year’s Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association was unique in more than one way. First, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was held virtually via web-based video conferencing. Second, with 151 members participating, it was the best attended AGM ever. Third, a woman now leads COPA as its president and chief executive officer.

Hosted by COPA’s Interim Chair Bill Mahoney from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, with COPA’s Director of Membership Communications Lauren Nagel behind the scene making it all work. The meeting went off smoothly without a hitch, with all voting performed online in a process that lasted less than a minute for each motion.

In fact, such was the enthusiasm that some comments posted in the live chat room during the meeting suggested that future AGMs include the option of online participation.

A highlight of COPA’s AGMs is the recognition of members who have merited recognition with special awards. The three main awards were made as follows:

Chairman’s Award

To Dave Sprague, President of COPA Flight 44 – Buttonville Flying Club, in recognition for his exceptional service to the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association.

“Dave Sprague is quick to volunteer and offer his assistance when asked. When we conferred the search committee back in January of this year, Dave offered to assist. He is an executive search consultant and he offered to help our search committee with the daunting task of finding a new CEO for COPA.”

President’s Award

To Cameron Boekhoff, who resurrected COPA Flight 8 – Ottawa, for embodying the future of aviation in Canada.

“[Cameron] resurrected COPA Flight 8, he’s been a key player in the NextGen movement. He lives, breathes everything aviation. He’s been a strong supporter of the staff and board members in the younger generation.”

Editor’s Award

To Jean-Pierre Bonin, contributing photographer to COPA Flight.

“It is my great pleasure to give Jean-Pierre Bonin the Editor’s Award in recognition of his generous contributions to COPA Flight magazine over the years. Jean-Pierre’s photographs have graced the magazine’s pages bringing pleasure and enjoyment to thousands of COPA members across the country.”

Many more awards were presented during the meeting, which lasted a total of two hours and 45 minutes.

Click here to see a PowerPoint presentation with the full list of award recipients. Click here to watch a recording of the AGM on YouTube.

BC Airport May Consider Alternative Land Use

The Town of Golden has hired Ottawa-based HM Aero Aviation Consulting to advise the Town’s council on the best use of its airport lands by making the airport more financially viable, or whether it should be shut down and the prime riverfront land it occupies adjacent to the town’s core put to better use.

Golden, located in the Columbia region of British Columbia, owns and operates the registered aerodrome (CYGE), which has a single 75-foot-wide asphalt runway 4,528 feet in length. Located at the facility are a Nav Canada weather station, a B.C. Wildfire Suppression Base, Golden and District Search and Rescue, two helicopter operators active year-round, a skydiving operator and a supplier of both Jet-A and 100LL fuels. There are also numerous privately-owned hangars. The airport saw 1,715 movements in 2019, an increase of 34 over the previous year. Some of those were medevac flights.

There is no scheduled air service to the town of 3,700, which is located on the Trans-Canada Highway between Kicking Horse Pass and Rogers Pass in the Columbia River Valley.

From a general aviation pilot’s perspective, the Golden airport is strategically located along the designated east-west VFR route between Calgary and B.C.’s Interior, especially given that the Parks Canada-operated 3,000-foot grass strip in the Banff National Park is designated for emergency use only. The airport also lies on the north-south designated VFR route, making Golden airport a potential haven for pilots encountering deteriorating weather condition along both these routes.

The Rocky Mountain Trench, as the north-south valley is known to pilots, sees significant VFR traffic as it is considered one of the safest routes through British Columbia for pilots travelling between Alaska and the Lower 48 states.

According to a statement from the Town of Golden, “the study will involve the evaluation of airport infrastructure, operations, financial standing and the identification of potential aeronautical and non-aeronautical business opportunities. A fundamental component of the study is engaging with local, regional and national stakeholders to obtain perspectives on future opportunities that could enhance the economic and social benefit of the Airport.”

COPA, together with the BC Aviation Council and the BC General Aviation Association, have made submissions in support of the airport and are closely following developments.

Ministerial Order Stops Saint-Roch Aerodrome Development – Again

On May 4, Transport Minister Marc Garneau issued another Ministerial Order preventing the Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan aerodrome from seeing the light of day. This was a second one after the first in August 2019, when the proponents presented their initial consultation results. The ex-Mascouche now St-Roch developers had heard the Minister’s comments the first time and had adjusted their actions to integrate them for a second iteration of the consultation report in December 2019. After months of deliberation, a sad justification was sent to the developers as for the reasons why the aerodrome could not see the light.

Among them were giving credibility to an illegitimate referendum by the opponents; discrediting COPA’s 2017 Economic Impact Study of General Aviation; how flight training units won’t necessarily solve the pilot shortage, thus new ones are not necessary and last but not least, over the years that people have lost Mascouche and have found temporary solutions, it means they don’t necessarily need Saint-Roch, regardless of time and money spent over the years.

Read COPA President Bernard Gervais’ letter to Minister Garneau in response to the Ministerial Order below.

COPA Comments to SRA Ministerial Order

From the COPA CEO’s Office….

COPA has been meeting regularly with Transport Canada during those meetings with all of industry. A lot of the work understandably revolves around money-generating operations and operators, who have suffered major losses in the past weeks. You can see the COVID-19 related action items here.

A question that has come up during some of the live sessions I’ve been holding is “when can we go back up again?” The answer is to follow your provincial guidelines of confinement and moving about, same as you would with your car. And ask yourself, is it really essential (other than your need to fly)?

Relief flights

We have clearly heard our members wanting to do something with their aircraft about helping out. A few weeks ago we offered the federal government our COPA resources by way of our COPA Flights with our GA aircraft and pilots. They have gotten back to us to explore the possibilities, mainly the federal Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. Right now, it is at a discussion level and there is nothing official nor any specific need. There will be coordination with Public Safety Canada and other departments and most likely provinces. If anything comes out, we will reach out to COPA Flights directly.

Communications, Convention and More (Attn: non-members)

For the last two weeks, I’ve held Facebook Live presentations trying to answer your questions and concerns, which have generated over a thousand views. This is our way of reaching out to you and staying in contact during these times. Your questions and comments are extremely important to us. You can see the previous presentations on our Facebook page.

I’m glad to say that with the feedback and comments we are getting, we will continue doing this even after COVID-19 confinement restrictions are lifted. Stay tuned.

COPA 2020 Convention:
Due to the nasty virus, we are postponing our 2020 convention to 2021. It will be held from June 24 to 26, 2021, still in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (CYJN). More details to come.

COPA and AirVenture (Oshkosh) 2020:
Nothing official yet on EAA’s part, but we are confirming that neither COPA nor any of our partners will be there. We will just make it bigger and better in 2021. Again, stay tuned.

More, and about being a member:
During our Facebook Live sessions, I have noticed many non-members aware of the benefits of being a COPA member but taking unfair advantage of our being there without wanting to be members.

Did you know that when ANYTHING happens or a question is raised about general aviation in the country, Transport Canada turns to us, COPA? When a change is proposed or something serious is to be validated, they turn to COPA. When issues have to be debated and brought to court, our members’ funds are there to defend our members and ultimately, all aviators in the country. I could go on and on.

Our intention is to reduce the eFlight subscriber list to only those who are members of COPA. For non-members who obviously see the benefits of COPA being here in the country, why not join us?

Paramountcy of Federal Jurisdiction Over Aeronautics Stands

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) announced on April 16 that it would not be hearing the case of the Attorney General of Quebec v. 9105425 Canada Association, et al., letting stand the Quebec Superior Court’s 2018 ruling that Quebec’s environmental ministry did not have jurisdiction over federally regulated airport lands.

eFlight readers may recall earlier reports in 2018 about the decade-long struggles that the developer of an expanded aerodrome in Terrebonne, Quebec was having with both local and provincial authorities over who had jurisdiction over the land.

The developer had authorization from Transport Canada to move the Mascouche aerodrome to a nearby parcel of land (after public consultation), but work was ordered stopped by the municipal and provincial governments, citing non-compliance with the Quebec Environment Quality Act (EQA). At the time, COPA had intervenor status in the case and proceeds from the COPA Freedom to Fly Fund were used to provide legal arguments and plead in support of federal jurisdiction over airport lands.

The Quebec Superior Court ruled that the EQA had no constitutional applicability in this case. Meanwhile, the developer and municipality entered an agreement that allowed the development to continue.

The Attorney General of Quebec appealed to a higher court (QC Court of Appeal), which dismissed the case. The Attorney General of Quebec then asked for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada with the present result.

Although the SCC does not provide reasons for not hearing cases, a summary of this case is provided on their website.