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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. Space-based ADS-B is already being used and delivering benefits to suitably-equipped aircraft in high level airspace in Canada at flight level 290 (FL290) and above.

Additionally, beginning December 2021, NAV CANADA has commenced incremental provision of air traffic service (ATS) surveillance services using space-based ADS-B below FL290. This represents the first time ADS-B data is used below FL290 in Canada. The incremental approach to implementation will enable overall system performance and gather air operator, air traffic controller and flight service specialist feedback, prior to the mandate going into effect. Learn more about the incremental implementation.

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.

In April 2022, in Class A 73,301 (95%) of flights were equipped. In Class B, 45,664 (88%) of flights were equipped.

Percentage of flights in a month that are already suitably equipped


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

Read the Service Notice

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

Read Aeronautical Information Circular 24/22  Open a new window

Notice of Further Expansion of Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) Services Below Flight Level 290

Read Aeronautical Information Circular 30/22  Open a new window

Updated timeline for ADS-B Performance Mandate in Canada

Read the News Release


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 will first come into effect in high altitude airspace, specifically Class A on August 10, 2023 and Class B airspace on May 16, 2024.

Future implementation of the mandate in Class C, D and E airspace will occur no earlier than 2026. 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.

Working together, and in the context of feedback received from stakeholders, NAV CANADA and Transport Canada recognize that the aviation industry continues to face challenges as it recovers from the global pandemic. This includes supply chain issues and backlogs that may impact the ability for some to acquire and install appropriate ADS-B Out equipment in a timely fashion. As a result, the Canadian equipage mandate was delayed to provide additional time to install the required aircraft equipment and meet the requirements of the mandate.

Implementation of the Mandate in Class A and B airspaces is now separated over two distinct publication dates, reflecting the relative levels of equipage prevalent amongst users of each class of airspace and affording our customers who are not yet equipped additional time to do so.

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.

During early adoption, NAV CANADA has identified cases where certain aircraft data is either missing or being incorrectly reported by the aircraft through the Mode S transponder and ADS-B systems. Specifically, there is evidence that some aircraft have diverse transponder installations, however the message set is reporting the aircraft as not having a diverse antenna. NAV CANADA is reaching out to stakeholders to ensure awareness of this issue and take steps to ensure that antenna diversity is identified. As more aircraft equip ADS-B and/or Mode S transponders it is important to ensure that the information is complete and accurate to facilitate introduction of these new technologies.

As technology continues to evolve, gathering appropriate additional aircraft data will be essential for aircraft operators to obtain the benefits expected from new applications such as Trajectory Based Operations (TBO) and other advanced efficiency concepts. NAV CANADA encourages all of its customers to continue to proactively integrate information from available aircraft sensors and sources into transponder and ADS-B systems to support future use cases that may be identified to further improve safety and efficiency of air navigation.

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 this requirement and are therefore 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.

It is important to note that equipage levels for current operators in both Class A and B airspace – including U.S. and European based operators – are already very high (95% of flights in Class A and 88% of flights in Class B and steadily growing).

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.

NAV CANADA is working closely with the regulator and stakeholders to establish a limited accomodation policy to address those rare cases whereby there are technical limitations to installation, such as the unavailability of a needed Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), that prevent compliance with the timelines for implementation.

In these exceptional cases, NAV CANADA will work with customers to support airspace access until such time an STC is achievable for the particular aircraft type.

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 position and velocity aircraft 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 controlled airspace below 12,500 feet — including but not limited to class C, D, or E control zones, class E airways, Terminal and transition areas — 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 2026. 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.

Customers who currently fly in airspace where space-based ADS-B is used for surveillance are already benefiting from the improved safety and efficiency.

Additionally, NAV CANADA commenced incremental provision of space-based ADS-B surveillance within specific airspace below FL290 beginning December 2021. Equipage is not mandatory during this period, which will only leverage aircraft that are already equipped to transmit to space-based ADS-B receivers. These equipped aircraft will benefit from ADS-B service in areas not previously covered. For more information see the Resources above.

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, air operators and aircraft owners will have costs associated with equipage (e.g. transponder installation).

As of April 2022, 95% of flights in Class A airspace are already suitably equipped to meet the requirements of the mandate, and approximately 88% of flights in Class B airspace are suitably equipped.

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 in airspace below FL290 has been undertaken to enable overall system performance and gather air operator, air traffic controller and flight service specialist feedback, prior to the mandate going into effect.