No Medical Reform in Canada

Copa_LogoTransport Canada has no plans to follow the U.S. in relaxing medical requirements for private pilots.

And by extension that means American pilots who let their medicals lapse under the new rules will not be able to fly in Canada.

There is one more year to go before U.S. pilots can fly under the medical reforms that will require most of those flying for personal transportation to have just one aviation medical in their flying lives. Amendments to the FAA’s third class medical passed on July 22 by the U.S. Congress would, as written, allow pilots to fly aircraft day or night VFR and IFR with up to five passengers without undergoing regular FAA-mandated medicals.

Existing pilots would need their family doctors to fill out a questionnaire every four years and they would have to take online training on the self certification process. New pilots would require an initial FAA medical and then self certify after that.

Congress has written an unusual measure into its legislation. It’s given the FAA a year to get the new rule into effect. If it doesn’t accomplish that, it’s barred from taking enforcement action against anyone who violates the existing regulations, meaning essentially there would be no medical oversight for pilots. FAA must now write its rulemaking, otherwise it comes into force exactly one year from the date of signature (July 22), as it was presented.

The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association has been following the issue and has queried Transport Canada about it.

“Transport Canada (TC) is of course aware of what’s going on in the U.S. and since 2011, COPA has been testing the waters to see if TC was considering doing something similar and TC is not planning any changes. At this stage, TC says there is no reason why Canada should emulate the U.S., the major one being that we already have a very similar medical category in Canada. It is the category 4 medical obtained through self declaration,” said COPA VP of Operations Patrick Gilligan.