Non-Canadian Air Carrier Licence Application Guide
Table of contents
What is this guide for?
This guide is intended to help non-Canadian applicants successfully apply for a scheduled international or a non-scheduled international licence.
What constitutes a complete application?
The following documents must be provided as part of the licence application.
- Application form for non-Canadian applicants completed; along with all required supporting documents.
- Canadian aviation document (e.g. Canadian Foreign Air Operator Certificate)
- Certificates of Insurance and Endorsement
- If applicable
- Designation from the applicant's home country (for scheduled international services only)
Note: Applicants that do not currently hold an Agency licence may file these documents after having submitted their initial application form. In the meantime, the Agency will process the other components of the application. The licence will only be issued once the applicant meets all requirements.
Part 1: Before applying
Relevant legislation and regulations
The issuance of a licence by the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) and the operation of air services are governed by the following:
- the Canada Transportation Act (CTA)
- the Air Transportation Regulations (ATR)
- the Aeronautics Act and associated regulations
You are encouraged to become familiar with these acts and regulations.
Should there be any discrepancy between what is contained in this document and what is contained in the CTA and the ATR, the CTA and the ATR shall prevail.
Do I need a licence?
Under most circumstances, a carrier must hold a licence to operate an air service.
You are encouraged to become familiar with these acts and regulations.
An air service is a service provided by means of an aircraft that is publicly available for the transportation of passengers or goods, or both.
Additional information on what constitutes an air service can be found in the Agency's Notice to Industry: Criteria to Determine What Constitutes an Air Service.
- aerial advertising services
- aerial fire-fighting services
- aerial survey services
- aerial reconnaissance services
- aerial sightseeing services
- aerial spreading services
- aerial weather altering services
- air cushion vehicle services
- air flight training services
- aerial inspection services
- aerial construction services
- aerial photography services
- aircraft demonstration services
- external helitransport services
- glider towing services
- hot air balloon services
- parachute jumping services
- transportation services for the retrieval of human organs for human transplants
- rocket launching
- aerial spraying services
- aerial forest fire management services
- a person that uses aircraft on behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces or any other armed forces cooperating with the Canadian Armed Forces
Carriers operating air services that are excluded from the licensing requirement are still required to comply with the requirements of the Aeronautics Act, as administered by Transport Canada.
All commercial information that is filed with the Agency will be treated as confidential.
A licence is required to sell an air service
Section 59 of the CTA prohibits any person from selling, causing to be sold or publicly offering for sale in Canada an air service without holding a licence.
If there has been a contravention of section 59 of the CTA, the Agency may, under section 79 of the CTA, refuse to issue a licence for a period not exceeding 12 months.
Applicants for a licence to operate an air service must not have contravened section 59 in the preceding 12 months, and must undertake to not contravene section 59 until a licence is issued (see Authorized officer statement).
Meeting the requirements
Canadian aviation document (Canadian Foreign Air Operator Certificate)
Applicants for a licence to operate a scheduled international or a non-scheduled international service must hold a Canadian aviation document valid for the service(s) to be provided under the licence(s).
A Canadian aviation document is usually in the form of a Canadian Foreign Air Operator Certificate (CFAOC) issued by Transport Canada.
For information regarding requirements and procedures to be followed when applying for a Canadian Foreign Air Operator Certificate, contact Transport Canada by telephone at 613-990-1100 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Certificate of insurance
Applicants must have the prescribed liability insurance coverage for the service(s) to be provided under the licence(s). In this regard, applicants must file a certificate of insurance as well as a certificate of endorsement.
Applicants must hold a document issued by their government, in respect of the service(s) to be provided under the document, equivalent to the licence(s) for which the application is being made.
Non-Canadian applicants for a scheduled international licence (other than for scheduled international services between Canada and the United States of America or the European Union) must provide evidence that they have been designated by the government of their home country or an agent of that government as eligible to hold such a licence.
Part 2 – Instructions on filling out the licence application form
Applications and supporting documents must be submitted in either English or French. All documents filed in another language must be accompanied by a translation in English or French and an affidavit attesting to the accuracy of the translation.
Completing the form
This form allows you to enter the required information and to save it to your records. Additional details are provided for what is required when you place the computer cursor over the fields.
Section A: Classes of service
Classification of service
- Scheduled international service is an international service that is a scheduled service pursuant to an agreement or arrangement to which Canada is a party (see bilateral agreements). In the absence of an agreement, the Minister of Transport may determine that an international service is a scheduled international service (section 70 of the CTA)
- Non-scheduled international service is an international service other than a scheduled international service.
Applicants that propose to operate an international air service on a scheduled basis from a country that has no agreement with Canada must apply in accordance with the Guidelines Respecting Extra-Bilateral Air Service Application to the Agency.
Section B: Proposed aircraft
Provide the following details for the aircraft to be used:
- make / model (e.g., Airbus A-300)
- Certificated maximum carrying capacity
Section C: Applicant information
Legal name and business structure
This section gathers general information about the applicant, including its business structure.
Applicants are required to specify whether the applicant is a:
- An incorporated business authorized by the jurisdiction where it was incorporated.
- Limited partnership
- A partnership in which there is at least one general partner (unlimited liability) and at least one limited partner whose liability is limited to the amount of money the limited partner has invested.
- An unincorporated business wherein two or more individuals, corporations, trusts or partnerships join together to carry on a trade or business.
- Sole proprietorship
- An unincorporated business entirely owned by one person. Also referred to as a proprietorship.
- Any other business form not listed above (must be specified).
The legal name must correspond exactly with the name indicated on the incorporation/formation documents of the business enterprise, where applicable.
The legal name must also correspond with the name indicated on all documents supporting this application, including:
- Canadian Foreign Air Operator Certificate
- Certificate of Insurance
- Certificate of Endorsement
- Document issued by the applicant's government, in respect of the service(s) to be provided under the document, equivalent to the licence(s) for which the application is being made
- Designation, for scheduled international services only
Paragraph 18(c) of the ATR states:
[The licensee] shall not operate an international service, or represent by advertisement or otherwise the licensee as operating such a service, under a name other than that specified in the licence.
If applicable, list all trade names under which the applicant intends to operate its international air service(s).
Section D: Applicant contact information
List the contact information for the head office of the applicant.
If the contact person for the purposes of this application differs from the contact person at the head office, indicate the name, title, email address, telephone number and fax number for an individual the Agency may contact.
Section 84 of the CTA states that licensees must have a place of business or an agent in Canada.
84. (1): a licensee who has an agent in Canada shall, in writing, provide the Agency with the agent’s name and address.
84. (2): a licensee who does not have a place of business or an agent in Canada shall appoint an agent who has a place of business in Canada and, in writing, provide the Agency with the agent’s name and address.
If the applicant has a place of business in Canada:
- select the appropriate box and enter the address of the principle place of business in Canada;
- enter the contact person information at that location.
If the applicant has an agent in Canada:
- select the appropriate box and enter the firm / company name of the agent in "Agent name";
- enter the contact information and address of the agent in Canada.
Note: If this information is not available at the time of the filling of this application, the carrier must comply with section 84 of the CTA once licensed.
Section E: Supporting documents
The list of required supporting documents is generated automatically by the form, based on the information entered by the applicant. The applicant must confirm within the form that each of the required supporting documents is included with the application.
- Canadian Foreign Air Operator Certificate valid for the proposed service(s)
- Certificate of Insurance valid for the proposed service(s)
- Certificate of Endorsement
- Document issued by the applicant's government, in regard of the service(s) to be provided under the document, equivalent to the licence(s) for which the application is being made
- Incorporation/formation document of the business enterprise
- Non-Canadian applicants for a scheduled international licence (other than for scheduled international services between Canada and the United States of America or the European Union) must provide evidence that they have been designated by the government of their home country or an agent of that government as eligible to hold such a licence.
Section F: Authorized officer statement
An authorized officer of the applicant must ensure that:
- The information and documentation in the application are accurate and true.
- The applicant has not, in the past 12 months, contravened section 59 of the CTA in respect of the applied for air service [if the applicant has contravened this provision, it must provide an explanation and substantiate why the Agency should not exercise its discretionary power to refuse to issue the applied for licence(s)].
- The applicant will not contravene section 59 of the CTA prior to the issuance of the licence.
The Agency may, by notice, require that a person provide verification of the contents of all or any part of a document by affidavit or by witnessed statement.
An authorized officer is considered:
- an officer of the corporation duly authorized to execute such documents under seal, if any, on behalf of the corporation, if a corporation;
- the proprietor, if a proprietorship (i.e. an individual);
- a member, if a limited liability company; or
- a partner, if a partnership.
Penalties for making false or misleading statements
The CTA states the following:
173. (1) No person shall knowingly make any false or misleading statement or knowingly provide false or misleading information to the Agency or the Minister or to any person acting on behalf of the Agency or the Minister in connection with any matter under this Act.
174. Every person who contravenes a provision of this Act or a regulation or order made under this Act, other than an order made under section 47, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable
a) in the case of an individual, to a fine not exceeding $5,000; and
b) in the case of a corporation, to a fine not exceeding $25,000.
Section G: Filing instructions
Submit the application, along with all supporting documentation, to the Agency by either:
If your submission contains large files or sensitive information that you do not wish to send via email, please contact us at email@example.com. We will promptly make arrangements to allow for easy electronic transmission through secured channels. All sensitive or confidential information or documents should be clearly marked as such.
A licence will only be issued once the applicant has complied with all of the requirements.
What happens next?
The Agency’s performance target is to issue new licences within seven business days once the application is determined to be complete.
Questions concerning the licensing requirements described in this guide may be addressed to the Team Leaders, Air Licensing and Charters Division.
Part 3 - Now that you are licensed
Section 58 of the CTA provides that a licence for the operation of an air service is not transferable.
Licensees that anticipate undergoing corporate restructuring should contact the manager, Financial Evaluation before proceeding in order to determine the impact on their licence.
The following additional Agency requirements must be satisfied before a licensee begins operations.
For more information concerning other Government of Canada requirements, refer to Air carrier requirements related to border services and statistical reporting.
A tariff sets out a carrier's fares, rates, charges and terms and conditions of carriage applicable to the air service provided and other incidental services offered.
All air carriers are required to:
- Have a tariff
- Post their terms and conditions of carriage as set out in their tariffs on their Website (if the site is used to sell tickets).
- Make their tariffs available for public inspection at their business offices.
- Post signage about the public’s right to inspect tariffs.
Licensees operating an international air service must file with the Agency appropriate tariffs containing fares (unless otherwise specified in a bilateral air transport agreement) and general terms and conditions of carriage that are broadly applicable to all air transportation and are not directly related to a fare. Tariffs must be in effect with the Agency prior to a carrier commencing the operation of its respective air services.
Air carriers are required to file a service schedule with the Agency for any scheduled international service they provide, including code share flights. Service schedules must be filed with the Agency at least 10 days before an air carrier commences its service.
To help air carriers meet their obligations, the Agency has created a service schedule template.
A licence to operate non-scheduled international services allows licensees to operate flights between its home country and Canada subject to meeting regulatory requirements as specified in the ATR.
Refer to the charter permit application guides or contact one of the Team Leaders, Air Licensing and Charters Division for details concerning various permit and notification requirements that may be necessary prior to the operation of international charter flights.
Provision of aircraft with flight crew
Refer to sections 8.2 to 8.5 of the (ATR) for information regarding the provision of:
- all or part of an aircraft, with a flight crew, to a licensee for the purpose of providing an air service pursuant to the licensee’s licence; and
- an air service by a licensee using all or part of an aircraft, with a flight crew, provided by another person.
For more information, contact the Manager, International Agreements Division.
All-inclusive air price advertising
Persons who advertise prices for air services originating in Canada must comply with the rules on all-inclusive air price advertising outlined in Part V.1 of the ATR.
Informing the Agency
It is the responsibility of licensees to ensure that their authorizations are kept current and reflect at all times their operations.
Licensees must notify the Agency without delay, in writing, if:
- their liability insurance coverage for the air service(s) under their licence(s) is cancelled or is altered and no longer meets the prescribed liability insurance coverage for that/those service(s);
- their operations change, which results in their liability insurance coverage no longer meeting the prescribed requirements for that/those service(s).
Licensees are required to file a renewed insurance certificate to demonstrate ongoing compliance with the insurance requirements.
Licensees should also contact the Agency if:
- they change their legal name or trade name(s);
- they anticipate a corporate restructuring;
- their contact information changes.
In cases of a change in legal name, licensees will have to request an amendment to their licence(s) to reflect the change (operating an international service under a name other than that which is on the licence is in contravention of 18(c) of the ATR).
How to contact the Agency
- Canadian Transportation Agency
- Ottawa, ON
- E-mail :
Air carrier requirements related to border services and statistical reporting
Border Services requirements
Licensees must contact the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) regarding the obligations of transportation companies when bringing passengers or cargo to Canada.
Providing advance information
Licensees must provide advance information electronically to the CBSA about:
- all goods (whether or not company owned); and
- all passengers and crew/personnel (including crew/personnel of another air carrier).
The advance information must be provided prior to arrival, as stated in the Advance Commercial Information (ACI) and the Advance Passenger Information/Passenger Name Record (API/PNR) policies enacted under the Reporting of Imported Goods Regulations, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and the Advance Passenger (Customs) Regulations. More information about commercial carriers, advance commercial information and advance passenger information/passenger name records is available on the CBSA website.
Obligations under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Licensees also have obligations under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and regulations and may be required to deposit security in order to guarantee payment of all amounts for which they may become liable. See the Guide for Transporters for more information.
When arriving at the airport
Upon arrival at the airport of entry (AOE) in Canada, the licensee must ensure that all passengers and crew on board the aircraft report to the CBSA for processing and clearance, as per the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
For non-scheduled flights operated to Canada, in addition to the requirements stated above, the pilot or operator must also contact the CBSA office located directly at the AOE prior to arrival, to request CBSA clearance. This will ensure that Border Services Officers at the AOE are aware of the pending arrival and are available to process and clear the flight in a timely manner. For more information on requesting charter access to airports, see D2-5-1, Charter Access to Airports.
For more information, contact the CBSA at the following numbers:
Licensees providing domestic or international services touching Canada are required, under regulations stemming from section 50 of the CTA, to report certain operational data to the Government of Canada through Transport Canada’s Electronic Collection of Air Transportation Statistics (ECATS) program.
To join ECATS, contact the ECATS program office 30 days prior to beginning operations to or from Canada:
- Transport Canada – ECATS
- Attention: Chief, Aviation Statistics
Economic Analysis (ACACE)
Place de Ville Tower C 25th floor
Canada K1A 0N5
Security requirements when applying for a Foreign Air Operator Certificate
For more information regarding security requirements when applying for a Foreign Air Operator Certificate, please visit Transport Canada's Website.