Minister Garneau marks over 100 years of aviation history by shining light on serious safety issue

News Release

Transport Canada urges Canadians to report reckless individuals who aim laser pointers at aircraft

February 23, 2017          Ottawa, Ontario             Transport Canada

Canadians expect and deserve to feel safe when travelling by air. As Canada celebrates over 100 years of aviation history today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport stressed the importance of a serious safety concern that we must address collectively:  laser strikes.

Minister Garneau was joined by Parliamentary Secretary Karen McCrimmon and the President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Ontario Provincial Police Deputy Commissioner and the President, Air Line Pilots Association Canada to remind Canadians of this important safety issue as part of the National Aviation Day celebrations in Ottawa. Minister Garneau urged Canadians who witness someone pointing a laser at an aircraft to report it to law enforcement immediately.

Transport Canada is working with law enforcement across the country to reduce the number of laser strikes and to prosecute reckless individuals who jeopardize the safety of aircraft passengers, flight crew and people on the ground.

Pointing a laser at aircraft is a serious crime with serious consequences. Offenders could face up to $100,000 in fines and up to five years in prison or both penalties.

Canada has one of the safest air transportation systems in the world. As part of Transport Canada’s ongoing efforts to maintain and improve aviation safety, the department is seeking the help of Canadians to assist law enforcement in gathering valuable information to find and prosecute individuals who put aviation safety at risk.

Canadians are encouraged to visit www.tc.gc.ca/NotABrightIdea to learn more about the dangers and consequences of laser strikes.


Quotes

“I’m very concerned about the frequency of laser incidents. Transport Canada is working closely with law enforcement and the aviation industry to address this serious issue, which poses an extremely serious threat to aviation safety. I encourage Canadians to report laser strikes to law enforcement and help us keep people in the sky and on the ground safe.
The Honourable Marc Garneau 
Minister of Transport

“Police services across the country are committed making sure communities are safe. Laser strikes on aircraft jeopardize safety for all of us and we will continue to treat them as a serious threat. We are working with partners to ensure we can respond to these incidents and bring swift justice to those responsible.”
Mario Harel
Gatineau Police Chief and President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police

“Shining a laser at an aircraft could pose significant safety risks for both pilots and passengers.  ALPA has been working for years with the federal government and industry stakeholders in order to raise awareness on this serious issue. We strongly support combined efforts that focus on education, reporting, law enforcement, and technology in order to protect air transportation.”
Captain Dan Adamus
President, Air Line Pilots Association Canada

“Laser attacks on aircraft are a serious and growing concern. The OPP take these actions very seriously and if the person(s) responsible are identified, they will be held accountable for their actions.”
Brad Blair
Ontario Provincial Police Deputy Commissioner, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support

Quick Facts

  • Lasers can distract pilots by causing glares that affect their vision, or temporarily blind them.

  • Approximately 450 laser strike incidents were reported to Transport Canada in 2016.

Associated Links

Contacts

Delphine Denis
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
613-991-0700
delphine.denis@tc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-0055
media@tc.gc.ca

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