Aircraft noise and emissions in the vicinity of Toronto

Ms. Carol Burtin Fripp
Mr. Geoff Kettel
Leaside Property Owners’ Association Incorporated

Dear Ms. Fripp and Mr. Kettel:

Thank you for your correspondence of January 21, 2016, regarding aircraft noise and emissions in the vicinity of Toronto. Please accept my apology for the delay in replying.

Transportation affects the daily lives of Canadians, and I am committed to ensuring that it continues to serve our communities and families and does so safely. Transportation serves as a backbone to our economy. Transportation activities must take into account the needs of Canada’s communities, while respecting Canadians and the natural environment.

Transport Canada is the safety regulator for aviation in Canada. Although the department does not approve changes to individual routings, other than to confirm that proposed designs meet the applicable standards, it is an important issue.

Managing flight paths and aircraft noise is a shared responsibility. NAV CANADA, Canada’s air navigation services provider, is responsible for managing Canada’s airspace. Aircraft noise concerns from the public are managed by airport authorities, which are private, not-for-profit corporations that operate airports.

As you may be aware, in 2015, NAV CANADA and the Canadian Airports Council developed the Airspace Change Communications and Consultation Protocol to promote transparency in the decision-making process and ensure better management of noise concerns. The Protocol will be applied to any future changes to airspace design and use. Additionally, NAV CANADA and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) created the Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan, which incorporates public consultation from surrounding communities into various ideas focussed on reducing the impact or frequency of aircraft noise issues, where possible.

In August 2015, eight roundtables were held throughout the city of Toronto. The meetings followed the same agenda, which included an in-depth conversation on six concepts and ideas proposed by NAV CANADA, based on feedback received in recent years. The meetings also gave stakeholders an opportunity to provide feedback on those concepts and to propose others. As you may be aware, several members of T.A.N.G. took part in those consultations.

Based on the results of the roundtables, NAV CANADA is now carrying out technical reviews of all six concepts. Additional public consultations, data analysis and implementation will occur later this year. My hope is that these new initiatives, including broad public engagement with NAV CANADA and the GTAA, will address noise concerns and future airspace changes in a more open manner.

Transport Canada’s experience has shown that noise issues are most effectively addressed at the local community level. I would therefore encourage you to work with the GTAA’s Community Environment and Noise Advisory Committee and to address any questions regarding flight paths, emissions and future public consultations to NAV CANADA and the GTAA.

Given the nature of your concerns, I have taken the liberty of forwarding your letter to Mr. Neil Wilson, President and CEO of NAV CANADA, and to Mr. Howard Eng, President and CEO of the GTAA, for their consideration.

Again, thank you for writing and providing me with your comments.

Yours sincerely,

The Honourable Marc Garneau, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Transport