Scheduled International Air Service: Foreign Applicants (non-U.S.)
1.1 Relevant Acts 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 (the Act);
- the Air Transportation Regulations (the ATR); and
- the Aeronautics Actandassociated regulations.
These documents are available from:
284 Wellington Street
Canada K1A 0H8
Acquiring the aforementioned documents and becoming familiar with their contents is encouraged.
Should there be any discrepancy between what is contained in this document and what is contained in the Act and the ATR, the Act and the ATR shall prevail.
- Air service
- A service provided by means of an aircraft that is publicly available for the transportation of passengers or goods, or both.
- Canadian aviation document
- In this guideline, refers to any licence, permit, accreditation, certificate or other document issued by the Minister under Part I of the Aeronautics Act to or with respect to any person or in respect of any aeronautical product, aerodrome, facility or service (Transport Canada may refer to this document as a “Canadian Foreign Air Operator Certificate”).
- International service
- An air service between Canada and a point in the territory of another country.
- Maximum Certificated Take-Off Weight (MCTOW)
- The maximum certificated take-off weight for aircraft as shown in the aircraft flight manual referred to in the aircraft’s Certificate of Airworthiness issued by the competent Canadian or foreign authority.
- Passenger seat
- For insurance purposes,a seat on board an aircraft that may be permanently occupied by a passenger for the period during which the aircraft is being used for a domestic service or an international service.
- Scheduled international licence
- A licence issued under subsection 69(1) of the Act.
- Scheduled international service
- An international service that is a scheduled service pursuant to:
- an agreement or arrangement for the provision of that service to which Canada is a party; or
- a determination made under section 70 of the Act.
1.3 Air Services Excluded from Licensing Requirements
Subsection 3(1) of Part I of the ATR and subsection 56(2) of the Act provide that an Agency licence is not required to operate the following specialty services to which Part II of the Act does not apply.
However, obtaining a Canadian aviation document and satisfying Transport Canada concerning insurance coverage are still required.
The following air services are excluded from licensing requirements:
- Aerial advertising
- Aerial fire-fighting
- Aerial survey
- Aerial reconnaissance
- Aerial sightseeing
- Aerial spreading
- Aerial weather altering
- Air cushion vehicle
- Transportation for the retrieval of human organs for human transplants
- Aircraft demonstration
- External helitransport
- Glider towing
- Hot air balloon
- Parachute jumping
- Rocket launching
- Air flight training
- Aerial inspection
- Aerial construction
- Aerial photography
- Aerial spraying
- Aerial forest fire management
As per subsection 56(1) of the Act, an Agency licence is also not required by a person that uses aircraft on behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces or any other armed forces cooperating with the Canadian Armed Forces.
1.4 Licence Not Transferable
Section 58 of the Act provides that a licence issued under Part II of the Act for the operation of an air service is not transferable. Licensees who undergo corporate restructuring should consult the Agency before proceeding in order to determine the impact on their licence.
2.1 Summary of Requirements
A licence to operate a scheduled international service will be issued by the Agency if it is satisfied that the applicant:
- holds a document issued by the government of the applicant’s state or an agent of that government that, in respect of the service to be provided under the document, is equivalent to the scheduled international licence;
- holds a Canadian aviation document issued by Transport Canada in respect of the service to be provided under the licence (see section 2.2);
- has the prescribed liability insurance coverage in respect of the service to be provided under the licence (see section 2.3);
- within the preceding twelve months, has not contravened section 59 of the Act in respect of the service to be provided under the licence (see section 2.4); and
- has been designated by the foreign government of the applicant’s home country or an agent of that foreign government to operate an air service under the terms of an agreement or arrangement between that government and the Government of Canada.
2.2 Evidence of Holding a Canadian Aviation Document
For more information, contact Transport Canada regarding requirements and for procedures to be followed when applying for a Canadian aviation document:
Foreign Inspection Division
Transport Canada (AARJF)
330 Sparks Street, 5th Floor
Canada K1A 0N8
A Canadian aviation document issued by Transport Canada is a pre-requisite for licence issuance. A copy of the Canadian aviation document, valid for the proposed service, must be submitted to the Agency before an Agency licence can be issued.
The insurance requirements are set out in sections 7 and 8 of the ATR:
7(1) No air carrier shall operate a domestic service or an international service unless, for every accident or incident related to the operation of that service, it has:
- liability insurance covering risks of injury to or death of passengers in an amount that is not less than the amount determined by multiplying $300,000 by the number of passenger seats on board the aircraft engaged in the service; and
- insurance covering risks of public liability in an amount that is not less than:
- $1,000,000, where the MCTOW of the aircraft engaged in the service is not greater than 7,500 pounds (3,402 kg),
- $2,000,000, where the MCTOW of the aircraft engaged in the service is greater than 7,500 pounds (3,402 kg) but not greater than 18,000 pounds (8,165 kg), and
- where the MCTOW of the aircraft engaged in the service is greater than 18,000 pounds (8,165 kg), $2,000,000 plus an amount determined by multiplying $150 by the number of pounds by which the MCTOW of the aircraft exceeds 18,000 pounds (8,165 kg).
7(2) The insurance coverage required by paragraph (1)(a) need not extend to any passenger who is an employee of an air carrier if workers' compensation legislation governing a claim for damages against that air carrier by the employee is applicable.
7(3) No air carrier shall take out liability insurance to comply with subsection (1) that contains an exclusion or waiver provision reducing insurance coverage for any accident or incident below the applicable minima determined pursuant to that subsection, unless that provision:
- consists of standard exclusion clauses adopted by the international aviation insurance industry dealing with
- war, hijacking and other perils,
- noise and pollution and other perils, or
- aviation radioactive contamination;
- is in respect of chemical drift;
- is to the effect that the insurance does not apply to liability assumed by the air carrier under any contract or agreement unless such liability would have attached to the air carrier even in the absence of such contract or agreement; or
- is to the effect that the entire policy shall be void if the air carrier has concealed or misrepresented any material fact or circumstance concerning the insurance or the subject thereof or if there has been any fraud, attempted fraud or false statement by the air carrier touching any matter relating to the insurance or the subject thereof, whether before or after a loss.
7(4) An air carrier may have a comprehensive single limit liability coverage where liability risks are covered by a single policy or a combination of primary and excess policies, but no single limit liability coverage of that air carrier shall be for an amount that is less than the applicable combined insurance minima determined pursuant to paragraphs (1)(a) and (b).
8(1) Every applicant for a licence or for an amendment to or renewal of a licence, and every licensee, shall file with the Agency, in respect of the service to be provided or being provided, as the case may be, a valid certificate of insurance in the form set out in Schedule I.
2.4 Non-Contravention of Prohibition Regarding Sale of an Air Service
Section 59 of the Act provides that no person shall sell, cause to be sold or publicly offer for sale in Canada an air service unless, if required under Part II of the Act, a person holds a licence issued under Part II in respect of that service and that licence is not suspended.
Note that section 79 of the Act provides:
- the corporation;
- any person who, as a principal of the corporation, directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in a contravention; and
- any body corporate of which the corporation or the person referred to in paragraph (b) is a principal.
3.1 Tariff Filing and Posting
Notwithstanding licence issuance, appropriate tariffs containing general terms and conditions of carriage which are broadly applicable to all air transportation and are not directly related to the fare, rate or charge are required to be on file and in effect with the Agency prior to commencing the operation of the respective air services.
Carriers must also post their general terms and conditions of carriage (tariffs) in a prominent place on their Internet site if they are selling transportation to and from Canada from that Internet site.
Samples of tariffs are available on the Agency’s Web site.
Prior to the commencement of service, carriers offering international scheduled services are required to file their service schedule with the Agency (including routes operated, the type of equipment used with seating capacity, frequency, departure / arrival times, etc.), pursuant to Part VI of the ATR.
Carriers have the option of electronic filing.
For additional information or assistance, contact the Tariffs Division:
3.2 Appointment and Notification of Agent
Applicants must have a place of business or an agent in Canada. Subsections 84(1) and (2) of the Act provide that:
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.
3.3 Canada Border Services Agency Reporting
Applicants must report electronically to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA):
- all goods (whether or not company owned); and
- all passengers and personnel (including personnel of another air carrier).
Such reporting is required:
- prior to arrival (per Advance Commercial Information and Advance Passenger Information/Passenger Name Record regulations); and
- upon arrival at the point of entry in Canada (per the Customs Act).
For more information, contact CBSA:
- Inside Canada
- 1-800-461-9999 (English)
- Outside Canada
- 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064 (English)
204-983-3700 or 506-636-5067 (French)
3.4 Statistical Reporting
All carriers providing air services to or from Canada are required, under regulations pursuant to Section 50 of the Act, 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
- 613-990-3825 or 613-993-4541
Applications should be typewritten in the format as set out in the appendices.
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.
4.3 Certificates of Insurance and Endorsement
- The name of the insured party must correspond exactly with the name that is to appear on the insured party's licence. (Trade names under which the applicant operates or proposes to operate do not need to appear on the Certificates of Insurance and Endorsement).
- The effective dates are current and indicated in day, month, year order.
- Section 3 of the Certificate of Insurance should be completed by inserting the words “an international.” When completing section 3, the minimum amount of insurance coverage required should be calculated as per section 7 of the ATR. See section 2.3 of this guideline.
- Section 4(a) or (b) should be completed by inserting the word “international.”
“Domestic” refers to a domestic service operated within Canada and not a service that is being operated in the applicant’s country.
- Either section 6(a) or (b) should be selected (checked).
- The certificate must be dated and signed by an authorized person or agent of the insurer.
- When insurance is provided through more than one insurer, a listing of insurers must be provided with the percentage of interest of each clearly indicated.
- Combined Single Limit coverage, which is the sum of passenger liability and public liability, may be shown instead of passenger liability and public liability being shown separately.
4.4 Filing Instructions
A foreign applicant intending to operate scheduled international services to and from Canada must first apply to the appropriate authorities of its government to obtain its designation.
A foreign applicant should therefore ascertain that the requirements of these authorities are met prior to completing an application pursuant to this guideline.
Submit the application including all supporting documentation to the Agency:
- By mail:
Canadian Transportation Agency
Canada K1A 0N9
- By courier:
Canadian Transportation Agency
15 Eddy Street
Canada J8X 4B5
To accelerate the review process, advance copies may also be sent:
- By fax:
- 819-953-5562 or 819‑953‑8798
- By e-mail:
The onus is on the applicant to complete the application in full and to include all supporting documentation requested.
Timeline to receive a licence
Applicants can usually expect to receive a licence within two weeks (14 calendar days) after having satisfied all licence issuance requirements.
An application cannot be processed until the necessary information and/or documentation is filed.
If requirements are not met within one year, applicants will be informed that as their application is incomplete, their file may be closed.
The application should be signed by:
- the proprietor, if a proprietorship (i.e. an individual);
- each partner, if a partnership; or
- an officer or officers of the corporation duly authorized to execute such documents under seal, if any, on behalf of the corporation, if it is a corporation.
A person such as a lawyer or consultant, who prepares an application on behalf of an applicant, cannot sign the application unless the person is a duly authorized agent or solicitor acting for the applicant.
All applicants must undertake to not contravene section 59 of the Act prior to the issuance of the applied for licence (see section 2.4). This undertaking must be witnessed.
A person such as a lawyer or a consultant, who prepares an application on behalf of an applicant, cannot sign the undertaking. Only those individuals listed in section 4.5 of this guideline can sign.
All of the information contained in the application, including the supporting documentation and changes subsequently made thereto, must be verified by an affidavit of the applicant, attesting to its truth, accuracy and completeness. (A sample affidavit form is available as Appendix 2).
A person such as a lawyer or a consultant, who prepares an application on behalf of an applicant, cannot sign the affidavit. Only those individuals listed in section 4.5 of this guideline can sign.
Any changes made to the application are considered to be amendments to the original application and are to be titled and numbered in the same fashion as the corresponding items in the original application.
4.9 Additional Information
The Agency may request additional information and documentation if it is required or if ambiguities need to be resolved.
It is the responsibility of the licensee to ensure that its Canadian authorizations are kept current and reflect at all times the operations of the licensee into Canada.
In particular, but not limited to the foregoing, the licensee shall notify the Agency of any changes in respect of its liability insurance coverage, the aircraft it intends to operate into Canada, any foreign operating authorizations which may affect operations into Canada, and any changes to the name of the licensee which would result in a difference from the name specified on its Canadian licence(s) or any related Canadian authorizations.
Sensitive or confidential information should be clearly marked as such and should be submitted as separate documents.
For further information:
Canadian Transportation Agency
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N9
- Web site:
This document and other Canadian Transportation Agency publications are available on our Web site at www.cta.gc.ca.
- Date modified: