BasicMed – Flying in Canadian Airspace
Due to the non ICAO-compliant nature of the BasicMed regime, Transport Canada does not currently allow aircraft to be operated in Canadian airspace by U.S. pilots flying under BasicMed. This includes transiting without landing (i.e. to/from Alaska). COPA is currently collaborating with AOPA and Transport Canada on a way forward which would allow certain BasicMed operations that comply with the restrictions imposed on Canadian Recreational Pilot Permit Holders.
In partnership with AOPA, we have created the The Cross Border Flying Operations Manual This publication contains over 150 pages and includes everything you need to know to fly in either country. It is available on both the COPA and AOPA Web sites in the “member’s only sections” for free. It is also available in a paper version from either COPA or AOPA, for a nominal charge.
Flying in Canada is the easiest place you can visit outside the USA, and its very little different.
The flying rules are almost indistinguishable – reading the COPA guide should keep you legal and out of trouble. Make sure you get a Canada Flight Supplement (CFS) and some VNCs (Canadian equivalent to your US sectionals), that will allow you to navigate VFR safely. IFR plates are available from Nav Canada as a subscription or from Canadian pilot supply stores.
- Places to Fly: COPA’s user-maintained database of Canadian airports with local insights, tips, and tricks.
- NavCanada’s flight planning website including latest weather, NOTAMS, airport diagrams, WX cams, and more.
- Familiarize yourself with the Canadian IFR route protocol for MEA and MOCA.
- The general web address for the AIM for Canada
- The Canadian AIP
- The AICs (Aeronautical Information Circulars)
Airports of Entry
To find CBSA’s list of designated Airports of Entry (AOE), visit their website
For those participating in the CANPASS program, official CANPASS AOE can be found here
CANPASS is a trusted-traveler program operated by the Canada Border Services Agency. Participating in the program allows members:
Easier clearing of the border for private aircraft carrying no more than 15 people (including the crew) and travelling to Canada from the United States. This program allows members to access more airports and provides expedited clearances for low-risk, pre-screened travellers.
Note: The CANPASS – Private Aircraft membership can only be used for travel into Canada.
If you are a CANPASS – Private Aircraft member, your private aircraft can have the following privileges:
- It can land at any airport of entry (AOE) in Canada;
- It can land at an AOE any time the airport is open for landing, regardless of the hours of business of the local CBSA office;
- It can land at a CANPASS-only airport, which may be nearer to your destination;
- It receives expedited clearance; and
- It can proceed to the final destination if there is no CBSA officer waiting for the aircraft by the reported time of arrival, without the pilot having to make a second call to the CBSA after landing.
For more information on the CANPASS program, including how to enroll, visit the CBSA’s website.