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ADS-B Performance Requirements

System Implementation

Expanding the benefits of ADS-B across Canada

Space-based automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (SB ADS-B) is revolutionary technology that now provides 100 percent world-wide surveillance coverage to appropriately equipped aircraft, expanding surveillance capability to remote and terrain-blocked areas.​​

NAV CANADA – in conjunction with the United Kingdom’s NATS – was the first in the world to use space-based ADS-B. First implemented in 2019 over the North Atlantic, the world’s busiest oceanic airspace, aircraft operators are now benefiting from significant safety and efficiency enhancements.

NAV CANADA was also the first air navigation service provider worldwide to implement space-based ADS-B in its domestic airspace:

  • From 2019-2021, space-based ADS-B was used to deliver benefits to suitably equipped aircraft in high level airspace in Canada at flight level 290 (FL290) and above
  • From 2021-2023, NAV CANADA commenced incremental provision of air traffic service (ATS) surveillance services using space-based ADS-B below FL290, which represented the first time ADS-B data was used below FL290 in Canada.

While NAV CANADA has been using ground-based ADS-B since 2008, this incremental approach to implementation of space-based ADS-B starting in 2019 enabled the monitoring of overall system performance and the gathering of air operator, air traffic controller and flight service specialist feedback, prior to the Canadian ADS-B mandate going into effect. 

Further extending the benefits of space-based ADS-B surveillance into our own airspace enhances safety and efficiency while ensuring our long-term alignment with the global aviation system.


Updated Timeline for ADS-B Out Performance Requirements Mandate in Canadian Domestic Airspace

Read the Service Notice


Space-based ADS-B is already being used and delivering benefits to suitably-equipped aircraft in high level airspace in Canada.

The mandate will be implemented in a phased approach.

The mandate in Class A domestic airspace came into effect on August 10, 2023. The mandate in Class B airspace will become effective on May 16, 2024.

Future implementation of the mandate in Class C, D and E airspace will occur no earlier than 2028. The approach and timing for implementation in these classes will be determined pending further assessment. NAV CANADA will continue to engage with stakeholders ahead of any implementation.

To learn more about Canada’s classes of airspace, see our infographicOpen a new window.

In order for our space-based ADS-B receivers to acquire a reliable signal, an antenna is required to emit the signal toward the satellites. Without this reliability, reduced separation using space-based ADS-B as surveillance would not be possible.

This requirement can be met either through antenna diversity (the use of a top and bottom antenna) or with a single antenna that is capable of transmitting both towards the ground and up towards satellites.

Aircraft equipment and installation requirements are defined in Airworthiness Chapter 551 - Aircraft Equipment and Installation - Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) section 551.103 - Transponder and Automatic Pressure Altitude Reporting EquipmentOpen a new window

Aircraft that do not meet these criteria in airspace where ADS-B has been mandated will not be eligible to receive an ATS Surveillance Service where Space-Based ADS-B is the only ATS surveillance source available.

In the U.S., aircraft that operate in airspace that required a Mode C or Mode S transponder needed to be equipped with ADS-B Out by December 31, 2019. This includes most controlled airspace (Class A, B, C and parts of E); details can be found on the FAA websiteOpen a new window. Above 18,000 feet MSL, 1090 Extended Squitter is required, whereas below 18,000 feet a provision was made to allow for the use of a 978 MHz Universal Access Transceiver (UAT). Outside U.S. airspace, almost all ADS-B systems operate on 1090 MHz.

Aircraft that equip for compliance with the Canadian ADS-B Out Performance Requirements Mandate will also be compliant with the U.S. and European ADS-B Out mandates. However, US and European aircraft that plan to fly in Canadian mandated airspace will have to meet the earlier-described antenna performance requirements. 978-MHz UATs do not meet the requirements and are incompatible with Canada’s ADS-B implementation.

The FAA have developed a ground-based network that covers the contiguous United States, and equipage requirements reflect this infrastructure. Canada’s unique geography, along with a long-term view of the safety and efficiency benefits that space-based ADS-B will deliver worldwide, made this satellite technology the right choice for Canada. Canada has an abundance of remote areas without road access, including areas with extreme weather in the north, that make the installation and maintenance of ground-based infrastructure costly and challenging. Space-based ADS-B also has the advantage of a signal that is not blocked by line of sight due to terrain, which is especially advantageous in mountainous regions. Additionally, the equipage requirements of Canada’s mandate are in line with a growing number of other countries in the world, and our adoption of space-based ADS-B best ensures our long-term alignment with the global aviation system.

Canada is implementing the ADS-B Out Performance Requirements Mandate as a collaborative effort between its aviation regulator, Transport Canada, and air navigation service provider, NAV CANADA.

Due to supply-chain limitations experienced in the context of the global pandemic, some customers have identified that they may not be able to meet the equipage requirements in time for the mandate effective date and, in some cases, they may require additional time to comply. To help this small number of customers bridge the gap, so long as system capacity permits, NAV CANADA will strive to accommodate aircraft unable to transmit ADS-B in accordance with the Canadian ADS-B mandate, in a similar fashion as accommodations are handled today for aircraft without functioning transponders in transponder mandatory airspace.

The three principles NAV CANADA will apply for ADS-B accommodation requests will be: safety, type of ATC separation service available in a given airspace and impacts to other airspace users.

Assessing ADS-B accommodation requests will be a manual process and will take time for each flight. NAV CANADA will need to assess alternative surveillance means for each flight and determine if all the affected air traffic control specialties will be able to adequately handle the procedural-separation needs of unequipped aircraft on requested routes and altitudes.

To provide enough time to perform each of these assessments, NAV CANADA will require ADS-B accommodation requests to be submitted at least three business days in advance. ADS-B accommodations for unequipped flights will generally be issued on a first-come first-served basis, although NAV CANADA will ensure that requests for unequipped priority flights (such as MEDEVAC, VIP, Rescue, etc) will be prioritized.

NAV CANADA will always try to communicate the capability to accommodate the route and/or altitude as soon as possible, and in no case will it be later than four hours prior to the expected time of departure. In cases where routes and/or altitudes are not conducive to accommodate unequipped aircraft, NAV CANADA may be able to propose alternative flight planning options for the pilot to consider. For cases where NAV CANADA has agreed to accommodate a flight that is unequipped, details of what to include in item 18 of the flight plan will be provided. In-flight accommodation requests will not be considered and, if traffic conditions or other operational circumstances change, NAV CANADA may need to rescind already agreed upon ADS-B accommodations.

Individual ADS-B accommodation requests can be submitted online hereOpen a new window.

Blanket accommodations may be made available to air operators with regularly scheduled flights. Air operators wishing to request a blanket accommodation agreement should contact

The greatest benefits for ATS surveillance are achieved if all aircraft are appropriately equipped. Mandating the equipage of all aircraft within certain airspace enables the use of a common surveillance technology across the country, creating a more seamless operating environment and bringing significant safety and efficiency benefits.

Space-based ADS-B surveillance enhances safety by providing air traffic services (ATS) with highly accurate data, providing earlier visibility to aircraft deviations, aiding emergency response in tracking and locating aircraft in distress and more. It also enhances efficiency for customers, enabling more preferred routes, speeds and flight levels, leading to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Read about all the benefits of ADS-B here.

The mandate will first be implemented in Class A and B airspace where general aviation customers do not generally fly.

Prior to establishing an ADS-B mandate in class C, D, or E airspace, specific guidelines will be developed and coordinated to ensure that the concerns of affected operators are addressed and mitigated. Such changes will be implemented no sooner than 2028. NAV CANADA recognizes that there is a cost to adequately equip aircraft, and this is being considered in the timelines and airspace classification. At this time, NAV CANADA cannot confirm exactly when and where further ADS-B equipage will be required within these classes of airspace.

Aircraft owners who choose to invest in ADS-B In (in addition to the ADS-B Out) capabilities will benefit from increased pilot situational awareness, as surrounding aircraft will increasingly be equipped with ADS-B Out.

The country-wide use of space-based ADS-B will enable support of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) detect-and-avoid capabilities installed by several leading drone manufacturers.

The Canadian ADS-B mandate is currently effective in Class A airspace, but NAV CANADA has also commenced offering space-based ADS-B surveillance services in areas where surveillance was previously not available, thereby providing greater situational awareness for air traffic controllers with safety and efficiency benefits for pilots.

NAV CANADA’s current customer charges rates already reflect the use of space-based surveillance data services domestically and in the North Atlantic oceanic airspace. No additional costs specific to the use of ADS-B are anticipated from NAV CANADA. Where an aircraft does not currently meet the ADS-B Out performance requirements of the Canadian ADS-B mandate, aircraft operators will have costs associated with equipage (e.g. transponder installation).

Canada is committed to an ADS-B mandate that will benefit the aviation community and NAV CANADA will continue to engage with stakeholders throughout the transition.
Additionally, an incremental approach to implementation of space-based ADS-B surveillance has been undertaken to enable overall system performance and gather air operator, air traffic controller and flight service specialist feedback.