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Roles and responsibilities 

Managing aircraft noise exposure on a community is a collective effort of a number of parties. The following is a high-level summary of roles and responsibilities of key parties.

International Civil Aviation Organization


The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is an agency of the United Nations and was created to promote the safe and standardized development of international civil aviation. ICAO sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, air navigation, and environmental protection (including noise and emissions). ICAO endorses the concept of a "Balanced Approach" to aircraft noise management. This approach aims to identify and implement the most cost-effective means to address noise problems at an airport, including: noise reduction at source; land-use planning and management; and, noise abatement operational procedures and operating restrictions. 

Transport Canada


Transport Canada, Canada’s aviation regulator, establishes safety and security standards under the provisions of the Aeronautics Act and the Canadian Aviation Regulations. The responsibilities of Transport Canada with regards to noise include reviewing, approving, and publishing new proposed noise control measures at airports, as well as ensuring compliance with published noise abatement procedures and investigating suspected violations. Transport Canada document TP1247, provides guidance for land use planning authorities on noise levels that is compatible with residential areas.

Airport operators


Canada’s largest airports were commercialized or transferred to private operation under the Government of Canada’s National Airport Policy starting in the 1990s. Today, most major commercial airports in Canada are operated by local airport authorities – in some cases, non-share capital corporations with full responsibility. Others may be operated by local government. Canada’s airports are responsible for managing their facilities and runways in ways that ensure safe operations and support the ongoing demand for air services, including managing the airport’s growth. In many cases, airports have been assigned the responsibility for noise management, which includes responding to community concerns, noise monitoring and developing Noise Abatement Procedures for their airport.



NAV CANADA is a private, not-for-profit corporation that operates Canada’s air traffic control and civil air navigation system under the auspices of the Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization Act. The Company is responsible for the safe co-ordination and the efficient movement of aircraft and is also responsible for planning and managing airspace, including flight paths and airways used by airlines. NAV CANADA publishes Canada Air Pilot and Canadian Flight Supplement, two aviation reference publications that provide pilots with information on airport operations, including details on noise abatement procedures in effect at different facilities. Facilities operated by NAV CANADA include control towers, area control centres, flight information centres and flight service stations. Additionally, the Company operates and maintains navigation and approach aids and equipment.

Airlines and other operators of aircraft


Airlines and other aircraft operators are responsible for conducting their operations in accordance with Transport Canada regulations and published Noise Abatement Procedures. Airline and air operator subject matter experts also are actively involved in working groups and teams that support improvements to aviation safety and efficiency through responsible development of performance-based navigation and airspace design.

Municipalities and other levels of government​


Local governments in most Canadian provinces and territories, are responsible for land use planning and development. Such planning authorities may use Noise Exposure Forecasts (NEF), produced by airport authorities using Transport Canada software and metrics, to determine areas where residential development may not be suitable. While, in most cases, ultimate decision-making approval for land use rests with such authorities, some provinces have created provincial guidelines that place additional restrictions on development around airports, such as Alberta’s Airport Vicinity Protection Areas.​