Interpretation Policy

 

This interpretation policy is an overarching document that outlines the commitments, practices and tools to be applied by the Department of National Defence when providing Canadians and businesses with information and guidance on regulatory obligations to be met. 

Departmental/Agency Context

The Department of National Defence is responsible for very few regulations that have an impact on business or the public. The Governor in Council makes some airport zoning regulations on the recommendation of the Minister of National Defence for defence purposes, related to military aerodromes that could impact business or the public. This interpretation policy is portfolio-wide with respect to the implementation of those types of regulations, which are made under the Aeronautics Act

Predictability

The Department of National Defense employs a national approach to regulations under the Aeronautics Act to ensure consistency on implementation of regulations with input from local municipalities, aboriginal groups, land developers and the public.

Plain Language Commitment

The Department of National Defence will use the plain language principles outlined in the Senior Executive Writing Guide developed by the Corporate Secretary when developing and explaining regulations. These principles include:

  • using the active voice as much as possible;
  • being concise and concrete so that content is clear, to the point, specific, and neutral in tone;
  • keeping sentences and paragraphs short: one idea per sentence, and one main concept per paragraph;
  • keeping the tone open, approachable, trustworthy, human (not bureaucratic, blunt, chummy, or severe); and
  • avoiding the use of jargon, acronyms and abbreviations.

A national approach to regulations under the Aeronautics Act allows the Department of National Defence to commit to one interpretation of the regulation and that interpretation is consistently applied.

Providing Guidance and Building Awareness

The Department of National Defence is committed to working with the municipalities, aboriginals groups and the public in order to create a mutually beneficial relationship during the regulation design and implementation process. This process can be technically complex at times and DND employs various techniques, including formal and informal discussions, poster boards, and slideshows at local public information sessions, notices in local newspapers and notices in the Canada Gazette to ensure stakeholders understand and have a venue to comment on the regulation. This carries forward to working with municipalities, land developers, and the public after implementation of the regulation to ensure that the regulation is respected by all.

The Department of National Defense builds awareness through the Base/Wing Construction Engineering Office and the Provincial Land Registry Office or Land Titles Office. The Construction Engineering Officer works hand-in-hand with local municipalities, aboriginal groups, land developers and the public to protect both Department of National Defence and public interests. The Construction Engineering Officer is the primary contact and can be available to provide advice and guidance.

Guidance on airports and aerodromes and information on regulations under the Aeronautics Act can be found on the Transport Canada website (http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/air-menu.htm). 

Responding to Questions

The Department of National Defence will provide an initial response to questions from business or the public within 5 business days, final response depends on complexity of the question. The requestor will be kept apprised. Final response time will be within a reasonable time proportional to the complexity of the initiating question. All responses will be in written format either through email or formal letter. The Department of National Defence answers questions relating to regulations made under the Aeronautics Act to ensure the safety of flight operations. Questions can be directed to a local representative or the Base/Wing Construction Engineering Officer, or the national contact information can be found by clicking on the zoning regulations published on the Department of National Defence website at http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about-policies-standards/forward-regulatory-plan.page

Service

Service Commitment

The Department of National Defence is committed to providing good stewardship and serving the public with respect, integrity, and excellence. These values can be found in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, which can be found on the Treasury Board Secretariat website (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=25049&section=text) and in the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Code of Values and Ethics (http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about/code-of-values-and-ethics.page).

Service Accountability

In the event that a stakeholder should encounter problems with respect to regulations made under the Aeronautics Act relating to military aerodromes and cannot come to a mutual understanding with the Base/Wing Construction Engineering Officer, the stakeholder is encouraged to engage the Base/Wing Commander to resolve their issue. If the Base/Wing Commander is unable to resolve the issue then the stakeholder is further encouraged to engage the national representative, whose contact information can be found by clicking on the zoning regulations published on the Department of National Defence website at http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about-policies-standards/forward-regulatory-plan.page.

Staff Training

The creation and enforcement of a regulation has several subject matter experts that are required to have and maintain the necessary skills and technical knowledge to provide accurate guidance to stakeholders. This is achieved during the hiring process with the requirement of specific areas of study at college or university level programs. 

Stakeholder Engagement

Commitment to Stakeholder Engagement

The Department of National Defence is committed to engaging stakeholders. As part of the due diligence process, there are multiple touch points with stakeholder groups. First, the Department of National Defence will engage Justice Canada for the purpose of determining the requirement for Aboriginal consultation. Second, the Department of National Defence will engage and work with local municipalities to make sure that both the Department of National Defence and local municipalities understand the impact of a proposed regulation under the Aeronautics Act and support municipalities in amending their planning process to accommodate the regulation. Third, the Department of National Defence will consult with members of the public in order to inform the public about any proposed regulation. Finally, the Department of National Defence will work with municipalities and land developers after the implementation of new regulations to ensure that its provisions are properly maintained.

Stakeholder Engagement Mechanisms

The Department of National Defence uses multiple mechanisms to engage stakeholders. The Department of National Defence reaches out to local municipalities to have one-on-one discussions. The Department of National Defence will also publish, at two different times, in local newspapers in both official languages prior to holding an information session. This publication serves as notice to the public that the Department of National Defence will hold a public information session in the municipality and that the public is invited to attend and provide comments or concerns. As a last step before implementation, the Department of National Defence will publish a minimum of two times in the Canada Gazette

Improvement

The Department of National Defence is committed to improving regulations under the Aeronautics Act by having them reviewed on a five-year rotation, making sure they are consistent with current standards and operational requirements while at the same time reviewing the potential effects on stakeholders.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an aerodrome?

Any area of land, water (including the frozen surface thereof) or other supporting surface used, designed, prepared, equipped or set apart for use either in whole or in part for the arrival, departure, movement or servicing of aircraft and includes any buildings, installations and equipment situated thereon or associated therewith (legal definition).

2. What is an aerodrome zoning regulation?

It is a directive made in accordance with the Aeronautics Act, also known as an airport zoning regulation or a heliport zoning regulation.

3. What is the purpose of creating aerodrome zoning regulation?

The purpose of this regulation is to prevent lands adjacent to or in the vicinity of an military aerodrome from being used or developed in a manner that is, in the opinion of the Minister of National Defence, incompatible with the safe operation of a military  airport, military heliport and/or military aircraft.

4. What are the key elements of this regulation?

The key elements of this regulation are:

  1. Identification of lands affected by the regulation.
  2. Description of how the lands are affected.
  3. Restriction on heights of objects, structures, and/or natural growth.
  4. Restriction on the use of lands in a manner that may cause interference with aeronautical communications or bird hazards to aviation.
5. How does this regulation affect Canadian businesses?

The impact on Canadian businesses is expected to be minimal.

6. What is the timeline for implementation?

The typical time line is 3 to 5 years per regulation.

7. Where can I get more information?

More information can be found on the Transport Canada website (http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/air-menu.htm).

8. Who is the Departmental contact?

The local contact is the Construction Engineering Officer at the Base/Wing. The national contact is the Manager – Land Registry Office, whose contact information can be found by clicking on the zoning regulations published on the Department of National Defence website at http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about-policies-standards/forward-regulatory-plan.page.

9. How can I access the regulations made under the Aeronautics Act?

Regulations can be accessed through the Justice Laws Website (http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/)

 

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.