Summary of the issue:

  • In 2012, NAV CANADA agrees to invest up to $150 million in Aireon to launch their space-qualified Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) service which requires receivers built into 66 Iridium NEXT satellites.
  • By 2019, the Iridium NEXT constellation becomes complete, providing 100% coverage of the globe with 66 on-orbit satellites and 9 additional on-orbit spares. NAV CANADA becomes the first air navigation service provider worldwide to implement space-based ADS-B in its domestic airspace.
  • By February 2022, NAV CANADA publishes its mandate requiring ADS-B Out equipage for Canadian airspace. Requirements in Class A and B airspace are identified to start February 23, 2023, and no sooner than February 23, 2026, in Class C, D, and E airspace.
  • COPA begins to publish a series of articles highlighting concerns with the proposed implementation of the NAV CANADA mandate of ADS-B. See below for a list of COPA’s concerns regarding the ADS-B mandate, including how COPA does not agree with NAV CANADA having the authority to mandate or to call this requirement a mandate.
  • COPA provides input to Transport Canada’s space-based ADS-B stakeholder consultation process, click here to read the full response.
  • By March 2022, COPA and 12 additional aviation associations send a joint industry letter to the Minister of Transport indicating concerns with the ADS-B requirement and the process used to implement the announced changes.
  • By August 2022, NAV CANADA announces a delay to its ADS-B out requirement implementation dates in response to concerns voiced by COPA and other stakeholders. Class A airspace equipage requirements started August 10, 2023, and Class B is set to start for spring 2024. Class C, D, and E airspace to now take place no sooner than 2028.
  • By August 2023, NAV CANADA launches an online tool for pilots to check the performance of their equipment to see if they comply with the NAV CANADA ADS-B out requirement.

COPA continues to advocate for other alternatives that are less costly to meet the desired outcome of an ADS-B airspace structure; these alternatives need to be explored as possible solutions.

Aircraft equipment and installation requirements are defined in Airworthiness Chapter 551 – Aircraft Equipment and Installation – Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) section 551.103 – Transponder and Automatic Pressure Altitude Reporting Equipment.

What are COPA’s main areas of concern for the ADS-B mandate?

  • Under what authority is the mandate being enabled? Is this a NAV CANADA or Transport Canada mandate?
  • Lack of regulatory consultation and process
  • Short notice of consultation before February 2023 deadline
  • Different processes/requirements to enable changes to Class A and B airspace versus changes to Class C, D and E?
  • The requirement to transmit to space and ground receivers (It is understood some ground-based infrastructure is needed for the system to operate safely.)
  • The difficulty of industry to equip to meet 2023 deadline
  • Costs to equip ($10-15,000 CAD per aircraft)
  • Lack of Cost-Benefit analysis for the aviation community
  • Misalignment with US system – access and cost impacts to cross-border operations (978UAT and 1090ES Ground-based not compliant in Canada.)
  • Safety and security issues with ADS-B system and ADS-B reliance on GPS.


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This fund is made available through the generous contributions of COPA members and supporters, to ensure that we continue to enjoy our freedoms, such as the right to have an airstrip on your property.

Uses of the fund include legal actions such as the federal jurisdiction issue that was successfully brought before the Supreme Court of Canada in 2009-2010.

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