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Federal government announces new aviation language requirements

May 1, 2008, Ottawa - New regulations will require Canadian flight crew and air traffic controllers to demonstrate proficiency in either English or French.


May 1, 2008
Carey Fredericks

May 1, 2008, Ottawa – New regulations will require Canadian
flight crew and air traffic controllers to demonstrate proficiency in either
English or French. The announcement was made today by the Honourable Lawrence
Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

"These regulations will enhance Canada's excellent aviation safety
record," said Minister Cannon. "Canada is among the first countries to meet
the new language proficiency requirements that the International Civil
Aviation Organization expects contracting states to comply with by 2011."
       

In March 2008, the International Civil Aviation Organization introduced a
standard for contracting states to require applicants to demonstrate their
ability to speak and understand the language used for radiotelephony
communications before issuing a licence. The international aviation community
supported this standard, following several fatal accidents abroad where the
lack of language proficiency was cited as a factor. The new Canadian
regulations harmonize with international standards, making Canada a global
leader in safety.
       
New licence applicants will now need to successfully complete the
Aviation Language Proficiency Test. This formal test will assess English and
French linguistic abilities and is available through a network of delegated
examiners across Canada. The majority of existing licence holders already meet
these language requirements.

The regulations were developed in close consultation with the Canadian aviation community through the Language Proficiency Study Group, assembled in 2004. The final notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on April 30, 2008.

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