Government of Canada funds more accessible and enhanced safety training for recreational pilots

News release

April 20, 2023

Ottawa, Ontario

Constant improvement is crucial to ensuring the continued safety of aviation in Canada, including in how we deliver essential safety training for recreational pilots.

Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, announced $558,903 in funding for the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) Flight Safety Foundation for a three-year project to enhance pilot training and its accessibility online.

The COPA Aviation Academy will ensure that pilots have 24/7 access to the necessary safety and search and rescue training, in a bilingual format, at no financial cost to pilots. This new online learning portal will provide the public safety community with invaluable data and insights into pilot safety training knowledge gaps.

The funding, from Public Safety Canada’s Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund (SAR NIF), will also support COPA in introducing enhanced safety courses that help pilots maintain their licenses and stay current on best practices for safer flying.

These safety courses and learning modules will help make flying safer by keeping pilots informed of the leading causes of various incidents and accidents while providing clear and simple guidance on how to avoid them. 


“Through funding this important project, the Government of Canada is helping provide recreational pilots with essential tools for their safety and will help lead to safer conditions for aviators across Canada. Thank you to COPA for your hard work and advocacy to continuously improve general aviation safety and keep our skies safe.”

-       The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

Canadian pilots work hard to gain their freedom to fly. They are dedicated to operating safely and enhancing their skills, and for the first time in Canadian history, every pilot in Canada will have equal access to quality safety training that helps prevent the need to be rescued. This new resource will also provide new safety metrics to industry previously inaccessible on a national scale. As a result, COPA’s new online learning centre for aviation enthusiasts will play an important role in mitigating the inherent risks associated with flying by highlighting key safety considerations for pilots on an ongoing basis.

-       Jim Ferrier, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association

Quick facts

  • Founded in 1952 to speak as the unified voice for general aviation in Canada, the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) represents over 15,000 members in every province and territory.

  • The COPA Flight Safety Foundation is a registered charity that promotes pilot safety through aviation educational material and training services. 

  • The Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund provides $7.6M in annual funding for projects that will improve search and rescue in Canada. It is designed to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, economy, and innovation of search and rescue activities.

Associated links


Joanna Kanga
Press Secretary
Office of the President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

Sharon Cheung
Director, Programs and Community Relations
Canadian Owners and Pilots Association
613-236-4901 ext. 107

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