Transport Canada
Transport Canada is the department
Ministry (government department)
A ministry is a specialised organisation responsible for a sector of government public administration, sometimes led by a minister or a senior public servant, that can have responsibility for one or more departments, agencies, bureaus, commissions or other smaller executive, advisory, managerial or...

 within the government of Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 which is responsible for developing regulation
Regulation is administrative legislation that constitutes or constrains rights and allocates responsibilities. It can be distinguished from primary legislation on the one hand and judge-made law on the other...

s, policies
A policy is typically described as a principle or rule to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome. The term is not normally used to denote what is actually done, this is normally referred to as either procedure or protocol...

 and services
Public services
Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income...

 of transportation in Canada. It is part of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities (TIC) portfolio. Transport Canada has its offices in Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

, Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....



The Department of Transport was created in 1935 by the government of William Lyon Mackenzie King
William Lyon Mackenzie King
William Lyon Mackenzie King, PC, OM, CMG was the dominant Canadian political leader from the 1920s through the 1940s. He served as the tenth Prime Minister of Canada from December 29, 1921 to June 28, 1926; from September 25, 1926 to August 7, 1930; and from October 23, 1935 to November 15, 1948...

 in recognition of the changing transportation environment in Canada. It merged three historic departments — the former Department of Railways and Canals
Department of Railways and Canals (Canada)
The Department of Railways and Canals is a former department of the Government of Canada. It had responsibility for the construction, operation, and maintenance of federal government-owned railways, as well as the operational responsibility for canals in Canada.The department was created in 1879...

, the Department of Marine, and the Civil Aviation Branch of National Defence under one dynamic minister C. D. Howe
C. D. Howe
Clarence Decatur Howe, PC , generally known as C. D. Howe, was a powerful Canadian Cabinet minister of the Liberal Party. Howe served in the governments of Prime Ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King and Louis St. Laurent continuously from 1935 to 1957...

 who would use the portfolio to rationalize the governance and provision of all forms of transportation (air, water and land). He created a National Harbours Board
National Harbours Board
The National Harbours Board was the administrative body that controlled the business and service operations in major Canadian ports in the years 1936 to 1983 and was also responsible for coordination and determination of policy, and planning and engineering of capital works. It reported on its...

 and Trans-Canada Air Lines
Trans-Canada Air Lines
Trans-Canada Air Lines was a Canadian airline and operated as the country's flag carrier. Its corporate headquarters were in Montreal, Quebec...

. The Department of Transport Act came into force November 2, 1936.

Prior to a 1994 federal government reorganization, Transport Canada had a wide range of responsibilities including the Canadian Coast Guard
Canadian Coast Guard
The Canadian Coast Guard is the coast guard of Canada. It is a federal agency responsible for providing maritime search and rescue , aids to navigation, marine pollution response, marine radio, and icebreaking...

, the Saint Lawrence Seaway
Saint Lawrence Seaway
The Saint Lawrence Seaway , , is the common name for a system of locks, canals and channels that permits ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the North American Great Lakes, as far as Lake Superior. Legally it extends from Montreal to Lake Erie, including the Welland Canal...

, airports and seaports, as well as Via Rail
VIA Rail
Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

 and CN Rail
Canadian National Railway
The Canadian National Railway Company is a Canadian Class I railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. CN's slogan is "North America's Railroad"....

. Significant cuts to Transport Canada at that time resulted in CN Rail being privatized, the coast guard being transferred to Fisheries and Oceans
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, frequently referred to as DFO , is the department within the government of Canada that is responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs in support of Canada's economic, ecological and scientific interests in oceans and inland waters...

 and the seaway and various ports and airports being transferred to local operating authorities; Transport Canada emerged from this process as a fundamentally different organization focused on policy and regulation as opposed to transportation operation.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for Transport Canada came in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. After the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

 closed down U.S. airspace as a result of the terrorist attacks, Transport Canada shut down Canadian airspace, to take in U.S.-bound international flights, launching Operation Yellow Ribbon
Operation Yellow Ribbon
Operation Yellow Ribbon was commenced by Transport Canada to handle the diversion of civilian airline flights in response to the September 11 attacks in 2001. Canada’s goal was to ensure that potentially destructive air traffic be removed from U.S. airspace as quickly as possible, and away from...


The current Minister of Transport
Minister of Transport (Canada)
The Minister of Transport is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who is responsible for overseeing the federal government's transportation regulatory and development department, Transport Canada...

 is the Honourable Denis Lebel
Denis Lebel
Denis Lebel, PC, MP is a Canadian federal politician and former mayor of Roberval, Quebec.Lebel was elected to the Canadian House of Commons on September 17, 2007, in the Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean by-election, 2007...


The Registrar of Imported Vehicles
Registrar of Imported Vehicles
The Registrar of Imported Vehicles is a program started by Transport Canada, and contracted to Livingston International Inc., to help regulate Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards on vehicles being imported from the U.S.A...

 is a private contractor to Transport Canada. All motor vehicles being imported into Canada must meet certain criteria set by the Government of Canada
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

 and administered by the Registrar of Imported Vehicles. The Registrar of Imported Vehicles does not have any process for appeals of their decisions, particularly relating the acceptability of documentation relating to "Recall Clearances". The RIV has in some instances decided to only accept certain documents for which vehicle manufacturers may or may not charge any fee they wish.

Transport Canada's headquarters are located in Ottawa, at Place de Ville
Place de Ville
Place de Ville is a complex of office towers in downtown Ottawa. It currently consists of four buildings, Place de Ville A, B, and C, and the 'Podium' building, two large hotels, and the city's largest underground parking garage. The buildings are linked by an underground shopping complex...

, Tower C. Transport Canada also has regional headquarters in:
  • Vancouver
    Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

     - Government of Canada Building on Burrard Street
    Burrard Street
    Burrard Street is a major thoroughfare in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is the central street of Downtown Vancouver and the Financial District. The street is named for Burrard Inlet, located at its northern terminus, which in turn is named for Sir Harry Burrard-Neale.The street starts at...

     at Robson
    Robson Street
    Robson Street is a major southeast-northwest thoroughfare in downtown and West End of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Its core commercial blocks from Burrard Street to Jervis are also known as Robsonstrasse. Its name honours John Robson, a major figure in British Columbia's entry into the...

  • Edmonton
    Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

     - Canada Place
  • Winnipeg
    Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

     - Macdonald Building
  • Toronto
    Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

     - Government of Canada Building
    Government of Canada Buildings (North York)
    The Government of Canada Building, also known as the Joseph Sheppard Federal Building, is a Government of Canada office complex at 4900 Yonge Street in North York...

     4900 Yonge Street
    Yonge Street
    Yonge Street is a major arterial route connecting the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto to Lake Simcoe, a gateway to the Upper Great Lakes. It was formerly listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest street in the world at , and the construction of Yonge Street is designated an "Event of...

  • Dorval (Montreal
    Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

    ) - Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport
    Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
    Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport or Montréal-Trudeau, formerly known as Montréal-Dorval International Airport, is located on the Island of Montreal, from Montreal's downtown core. The airport terminals are located entirely in Dorval, while the Air Canada headquarters complex...

    , 700 Place Leigh Capreol
  • Moncton - Heritage Building

Current structure of Transport Canada

  • Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
    Minister of Transport (Canada)
    The Minister of Transport is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who is responsible for overseeing the federal government's transportation regulatory and development department, Transport Canada...

     Denis Lebel
    Denis Lebel
    Denis Lebel, PC, MP is a Canadian federal politician and former mayor of Roberval, Quebec.Lebel was elected to the Canadian House of Commons on September 17, 2007, in the Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean by-election, 2007...

    • Deputy Minister, Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Deputy Head Infrastructure and Communities
      Infrastructure Canada
      Infrastructure Canada is part of the Transport, Infrastructure and Communities portfolio of the Government of Canada. Established in August 2002, the organization was formerly associated with Treasury Board Secretariat, the Privy Council Office, Industry Canada, and Environment Canada...

       Yaprak Baltacıoğlu
    • Associate Deputy Minister, Anita Biguzs
      • Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security, Gerard McDonald
      • Assistant Deputy Minister, Programs, Mary Komarynsky
      • Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy, Kristine Burr
      • Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services, André Morency
      • Director General, Communications and Marketing, Jean Valin
      • Regional Director General, Atlantic Region, Michel Doiron
      • Regional Director General, Quebec Region, André Lapointe
      • Regional Director General, Ontario Region, Michael Stephenson
      • Regional Director General, Prairie and Northern Region, Michele Taylor
      • Regional Director General, Pacific Region, Michael Henderson
      • Departmental General Counsel, Henry K. Schultz


Transport Canada is responsible for enforcing several Canadian legislation, including the Aeronautics Act, Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, Motor Vehicle Safety Act, Canada Transportation Act, Railway Safety Act, Canada Shipping Act, 2001, Marine Transportation Security Act amongst others.

Each inspector with delegated power from the Minister of Transport receives official credentials to exercise their power, as shown on the right.

These inspectors are not peace officers and do not carry weapons.


The Motor Vehicle Safety Act was established in 1971 in order to create safety standards for cars in Canada. The department also acts as the federal government's funding partner on jointly-funded provincial transportation infrastructure projects for new highways.


Transport Canada's role in railways
Rail transport in Canada
Canada has a large and well-developed railway system that today transports primarily freight. There are two major privately owned transcontinental freight railway systems, the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railway. Nation-wide passenger services are provided by the federal crown...

  • railway safety
  • strategies for rail travel accessibility
  • safety of federally regulated railway bridges
  • Inspecting and testing traffic control signals, grade crossing warning systems
  • rail operating rules
    Rail regulations in Canada
    Rail regulations in Canada are set by Transport Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency.-Scope:Federal regulations apply only to certain railways which meet one or more of the following conditions:* They operate in more than one province....

  • regulations, standards and services for safe transport of dangerous goods
  • Canadian Transport Emergency Centre to assist emergency response and handling dangerous goods emergencies

Following allegations by shippers of service level deterioration, on April 7, 2008, the federal government of Canada launched a review of railway freight service within the country. Transport Canada, which is managing the review, plans to investigate the relationships between Canadian shippers and the rail industry, especially with regards to the two largest railroad companies in the country, Canadian Pacific Railway
Canadian Pacific Railway
The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

 and Canadian National Railway. The review period is expected to last more than a year and could lead to new regulations for carriers.


Transport Canada is responsible for the waterways inside
Canadian Internal Waters
Canadian Internal Waters is a Canadian term that refers to "...the waters on the landward side of the baselines of the territorial sea of Canada,..."....

 and surrounding Canada. These responsibilities include:
  • responding and investigating marine accidents within Canadian waters
  • enforcing marine acts and regulations
  • establishing and enforcing marine personnel standards and pilotage
  • Marine Safety
  • Marine Security
  • regulating the operation of marine vessels in Canadian waters
  • As of 2003 the Office of Boating Safety
    Office of Boating Safety
    The Office of Boating Safety is Transport Canada's division which concerns itself with pleasure craft and marine recreation. The OBS delivers prevention-based programs to reduce the safety risks and environmental impacts of boating on Canadian waters....

     and the Navigable Waters Protection Program were transferred back to Transport Canada. As was certain regulatory aspects of Emergency Response (Oil pollution)


Transport Canada's role in aviation seems to be the most detailed. Until 1996, Transport Canada was responsible for both regulation of aviation and the operation of air traffic services, as well as the operation of most major airports. On November 1, 1996, these responsibilities were split: Transport Canada remains responsible for regulation, but a new regulated non-profit company, NAV CANADA
Nav Canada is a privately run, not-for-profit corporation that owns and operates Canada's civil air navigation system .The company employs approximately 2,000 air traffic controllers , 800 flight service specialists and 700 technologists...

, took over responsibility for all civilian air traffic services. This change was (and remains) controversial because NAV CANADA began charging for services that were previously funded through general tax revenue. In 2005, the United States was discussing a similar delegation of the FAA's air traffic services to an "arm's-length" government corporation.

During the 1990s, Transport Canada also began privatizing the operation of large airports, and divesting itself of small airports altogether (typically handing them over to municipalities). Following the 1994 National Airports Policy
National Airports Policy (Canada)
The National Airports Policy is a program of the Government of Canada involving the privatization or private operation of nearly all of the country's airports that was commenced during the 1990s....

, Transport Canada retains ownership of most airports with 200,000 or more annual passenger movements, as well as the primary airports serving the federal, provincial, and territorial capitals, but leases most of these airports (which make up the National Airports System) to outside operators; currently, there are 26 airports in the system.

In 2003, Transport Canada launched its Electronic Collection of Air Transportation Statistics program to collect passenger and cargo data in real-time from air carriers flying in Canada. ECATS will expand into the field of general aviation
General aviation
General aviation is one of the two categories of civil aviation. It refers to all flights other than military and scheduled airline and regular cargo flights, both private and commercial. General aviation flights range from gliders and powered parachutes to large, non-scheduled cargo jet flights...

 during 2008.

Transport Canada continues to be responsible for licensing pilots and other aviation specialists (such as dispatchers and mechanics) as well as registering and inspecting aircraft. It is also responsible for the safety certification and continuous safety oversight of most forms of commercial operations. These responsibilities are carried out by 6 regions, Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairie & Northern, Pacific and the sixth region based in Ottawa (National Capital Region
National Capital Region (Canada)
The National Capital Region, also referred to as Canada's Capital Region, is an official federal designation for the Canadian capital of Ottawa, Ontario, the neighbouring city of Gatineau, Quebec, and surrounding urban and rural communities....

) is responsible for air operators operating international flights and certain types of large aeroplanes.

Survellience Fleet

  • Bombardier Dash 8-100
  • Cessna 550 Citation II

Accident and incident data is collected by Transport Canada using the Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System (CADORS).

Recent controversies

Transport Canada has been the centre of a number of controversies in recent years. The first involved criticism of its move to Safety Management Systems
Safety Management Systems
Safety Management System is a term used to refer to a comprehensive business management system designed to manage occupational safety and health elements in the workplace.-Description of SMS:...

 in its regulation of civil aviation. Whistleblower
A whistleblower is a person who tells the public or someone in authority about alleged dishonest or illegal activities occurring in a government department, a public or private organization, or a company...

 Hugh Danford, a former inspector at Transport Canada, went on record criticizing this approach, indicating that it would increase risk to the flying public. The rail industry in Canada, which has had SMS for a number of years already and is also regulated by Transport Canada, has shown a marked increase in accidents under this regulatory scheme. Critics have warned that introducing SMS to the aviation sector is "a recipe for disaster". That said, the aviation accident rate in Canada has steadily declined.

In another, several Transport Canada senior executives, including Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security, Marc Grégoire, were sued for reprisals against another whistleblower, Ian Bron who reported that the Marine Security framework was riddled with gaps.

More recently, Transport Canada has been criticized for its refusal to approve electrical cars
Electric car
An electric car is an automobile which is propelled by electric motor, using electrical energy stored in batteries or another energy storage device. Electric cars were popular in the late-19th century and early 20th century, until advances in internal combustion engine technology and mass...

 manufactured in Canada.

The Canadian Association of Journalists
Canadian Association of Journalists
The Canadian Association of Journalists or L'Association Canadienne des Journalistes in French is one of several Canadian organizations of journalists. It was created to promote excellence in journalism and encourage investigative journalism...

 nominated Transport Canada for its Secrecy Award for a second time in 2008, indicating that a bill
Bill (proposed law)
A bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act or a statute....

 to amend the Aeronautics Act will cause "a veil of secrecy [to] fall over all information reported by airlines about performance, safety violations, aviation safety problems and their resolution."

In September 2009, Transport Canada was alleged to have fraudulently charged expenses to the non-existent Mackenzie Valley Pipeline
Mackenzie Valley Pipeline
The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline is a proposed project to transport natural gas from the Beaufort Sea through Canada's Northwest Territories to tie into gas pipelines in northern Alberta. The project was first proposed in the early 1970s, but was scrapped following an inquiry conducted by Justice...

 project. This story came to light after repeated efforts by access to information expert Ken Rubin, and repeated denials by the department that the incriminating documents existed or that any impropriety had occurred.

Also in September 2009, the CBC
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as CBC and officially as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster...

's Fifth Estate
The fifth estate
the fifth estate is a Canadian television newsmagazine, which airs on the English language CBC Television network. The name is a play on the fact that the media are sometimes referred to as the Fourth Estate, and was chosen to highlight the program's determination to go beyond everyday news into...

 produced a report "Riding on Risk", which detailed alleged mismanagement and cover-ups in Transport Canada. The story was sparked by a lost memory stick
USB flash drive
A flash drive is a data storage device that consists of flash memory with an integrated Universal Serial Bus interface. flash drives are typically removable and rewritable, and physically much smaller than a floppy disk. Most weigh less than 30 g...

 which was found by a journalism student. The memory stick contained many documents showing efforts by security inspectors to enforce aviation security regulations, and the perceived failure of management to do so. The CBC report also detailed the alleged reprisals — and fear of reprisals - against whistleblowers and other employees.


  • ecoAuto
    The EcoAuto Rebate Program is a Canadian government program administered by Transport Canada to provide incentive to people to buy fuel-efficient vehicles, to protect the environment, through rebates...

     - Canadian government incentive program to purchase fuel-efficient
    Fuel efficiency
    Fuel efficiency is a form of thermal efficiency, meaning the efficiency of a process that converts chemical potential energy contained in a carrier fuel into kinetic energy or work. Overall fuel efficiency may vary per device, which in turn may vary per application, and this spectrum of variance is...

  • Pleasure Craft Operator Card
    Pleasure Craft Operator Card
    The which fall within the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 require operators of pleasure craft in Canada, fitted with a motor and used for recreational purposes, to have proof of competency on board with them at all times. The regulation applies to sailboats that are fitted with auxiliary motors and to...

     - Mandatory Boater Education in Canada

See also

  • Canadian Air Carrier Protection Program

:Category: Airports in Canada
  • Transportation Safety Board of Canada
    Transportation Safety Board of Canada
    The Transportation Safety Board of Canada , officially the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board is the agency of the Government of Canada responsible for maintaining...

The provinces also have their own transportation departments, namely to deal with roads and vehicle licensing and regulations:
  • British Columbia Ministry of Transportation
    British Columbia Ministry of Transportation
    The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is the British Columbia government ministry responsible for transport infrastructure and law in the Canadian province of British Columbia...

  • Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure (Saskatchewan)
    Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure (Saskatchewan)
    The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure or Highways and Infrastructure — Government of Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways is divided into the Operations, Policy and Programs, and Corporate Services Divisions and the Communications Branch. The ministry is the employer of over 1,476...

  • Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation (Manitoba)
    Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation (Manitoba)
    The Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation is a cabinet minister in the government of Manitoba, Canada.The position was created in 1999 by a merger of the departments of Highways and Transportation and the Government Services. The new department was initially called the Ministry of Highways...

  • Ministry of Transportation of Ontario
  • Transports Québec
    Transports Québec
    Le ministère des Transports du Québec , known by its short form name Transports Québec, is a Quebec government ministry responsible for transport infrastructure and law in Quebec, Canada....

  • Department of Transportation (New Brunswick)
    Department of Transportation (New Brunswick)
    The Department of Transportation is a part of the Government of New Brunswick. It is charged with the maintenance of the provincial highway network and the management of the province's automobile fleet....

  • Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal
    Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal
    The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is a department within the Government of Nova Scotia and has responsibility for overseeing transportation, communications, construction, property, and accommodation needs of government departments and agencies in the province.Bill...

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