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e-4397 (Transportation)

Initiated by Stanis Smith from Burnaby, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Minister of Transport

  • Transport Canada establishes the regulatory framework for NAV CANADA;
  • That regulatory framework includes minimizing the impact of aircraft noise and emissions on communities; and
  • NAV CANADA is proposing to change the flightpaths over the Greater Vancouver region in ways that will increase noise and emissions in many residential areas currently unaffected by flightpaths.
We, the undersigned, residents of the Greater Vancouver region, call upon the Minister of Transport to prepare an independent environmental assessment of the noise and emissions impacts of the proposed flightpaths, including recommendations for minimizing such impacts, prior to the proposed changes taking place. This environmental assessment should be based on the latest global research and recommendations for noise and emissions limits, should be independent of NAV CANADA, and should be made public when completed.

Response by the Minister of Transport

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Annie Koutrakis, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

NAV CANADA is undertaking the Vancouver Airspace Modernization Project to modernize the airspace over the Greater Vancouver Region and Southern Vancouver Island to enhance aviation safety by introducing new procedures based on current design standards and modern satellite-based navigation technologies, while reducing the industry’s environmental impacts. This project is to ensure the modernized airspace can safely and efficiently support long-term demand for air travel, which is a key driver for the local and Canadian economy.  

NAV CANADA is a private, arm's length corporation responsible for the provision of air navigation services in Canada. This responsibility was transferred from Transport Canada to NAV CANADA in 1996 in accordance with the Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization Act. Transport Canada provides safety oversight for these services and the focus is on the safety and security of the civil aviation system, which is regulated through the Aeronautics Act and Canadian Aviation Regulations.  

Redesigning airspace to accommodate the increasing demands for passenger, cargo, flight training and recreational operations with a wide range of aircraft types, in an area with many airports,  in the mountainous terrain and coastal region weather in the Vancouver Lower Mainland  is a complex matter. The project involves detailed analyses that assess the safety and efficiency of the flight paths within the context of changing technology and safety requirements, all while considering the impact of noise and emissions in the communities in the vicinity of an airport. 

Aircraft noise is a complicated and often difficult issue faced by airport authorities and communities around the world and it is essential that the public has the opportunity to provide their feedback on potential changes.  That is why the Government of Canada put forward Bill C-52, which if passed, would create a process for airports to notify and consult the public on changes to airport design that could affect aircraft noise.

Some aircraft, like cars, can be noisier than others due to age, model, modifications, and how close they are to public and private spaces. However, Canadian aircraft must meet noise standards outlined in the Canadian Aviation Regulations at the time of certification. Further information can be found here:   

In the matter of authority to require an environmental assessment of the potential airspace change, such authority is vested with Environment and Climate Change Canada. This department has confirmed that airspace changes are not included in the Physical Activity Regulations that would trigger an assessment under the Impact Assessment Act. Inquiries regarding activities that are outside of the Physical Activity Regulations can be made by email at:

Transport Canada previously worked with Canadian airports and NAV CANADA to develop a voluntary protocol for the aviation industry entitled Airspace Change Communications and Consultation Protocol that was published in 2015. This protocol amplified the aviation industry’s commitment to include environmental considerations to communicate and consult with communities. More information can be found here:  

NAV CANADA is already following this voluntary protocol for the Vancouver Airspace Modernization Project to assess noise and emissions impacts. NAV CANADA has also been communicating and consulting with stakeholders and the public and they will continue until all recommendations are formalized. Reports on the Vancouver Airspace Modernization Project are anticipated to be released in late August or early September 2023. The Reports will be made public and additional discussions will occur early this Fall. 

Noise related issues and suggestions for airport operating restrictions are discussions that would be best addressed with Vancouver International Airport’s management. Contact details for their executive team can be found here:


Open for signature
April 18, 2023, at 10:55 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
June 17, 2023, at 10:55 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Bonita Zarrillo (Port Moody—Coquitlam)
June 21, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01583)
Government response tabled
August 16, 2023
Photo - Bonita Zarrillo
Port Moody—Coquitlam
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia