November 15, 2017

NavCanada Addressing Controller Shortage


Earlier this summer of 2017 and at other times over the past few years, Nav Canada (NC) has issued NOTAMs for the main international airspaces in the country indicating VFR traffic may experience delays or is temporarily not allowed to go into class C due to “system capacity”.  We are well aware that system capacity means “staff shortage”. Sitting on the Nav Canada Advisory Committee, COPA and other associations have regularly brought this up to the NC board and executives over the last few years. With 4-6% overall air traffic increase on a yearly basis, staff shortage is a serious situation that needs to be addressed and NC may not have been a model student at doing so. But this year and for the next ones, NC has promised to be a lot more aggressive and not just “hope for the best” anymore. There are now close to 300 people in the training pipeline, where there were only 80 about two years ago, and they are even looking to hire ready-trained ATC specialists from outside of the country, thereby reducing the time for them to be certified. The NC Board assures us it is a top priority for them and we will keep a close eye on this file.