January 11, 2019

“So much of what we accomplished in fiscal 2018 has helped build a solid foundation for what’s ahead”: Message from The President and CEO

The following message from Neil Wilson, NAV CANADA President and CEO, was originally published in the the NAV CANADA 2018 Annual Report. It has been readapted for this blog.

This is an exciting time to be working in aviation, with ongoing air traffic growth bringing real-time challenges and unprecedented opportunities in equal measure. NAV CANADA people and systems are being put to the test on a daily basis, and we are excelling at every turn: safely and efficiently moving more aircraft and innovating in both small steps and quantum leaps.

This is a company that by its nature has changed the way air navigation services around the world are viewed and deliver their services. When we look at the issues we have faced in aviation in Canada throughout our history, or at the growth in air traffic we are currently experiencing, a clear pattern emerges of NAV CANADA rising to the challenge. We have been able to anticipate and respond to customers’ evolving needs, connect with stakeholders and communities to address operational issues, and innovate to make the next leap forward in aviation safety and efficiency. With the imminent deployment of space-based ADS-B technology, we are now joining forces with industry partners to usher in a new era for air traffic surveillance.

Building a solid foundation

So much of what we accomplished in fiscal 2018 has helped build a solid foundation for what’s ahead. Details are provided in the Strategic Plan Update section of the NAV CANADA 2018 Annual Report, but I would draw your attention to the following:


We expanded the scope of our corporate safety plan to include specific actions for enhancing our safety management system and mitigating key operational safety risks. Following a robust risk assessment, we are addressing head-on a range of safety- related issues, with student pilots and unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones) flying in our airspace at the top of our list.


To staff up for the projected growth in air traffic, we recruited and trained more new air traffic controllers and flight service specialists this past year. We also made progress on our journey to be one of the best workplaces in Canada – NAV CANADA was named among Canada’s Top 100 Employers for the third consecutive year.


Our focus on enhancing service delivery paid dividends, with material improvements in on-time operations and declines in delays and restrictions. This was achieved through the excellent work of our employees, who stepped up repeatedly to deliver when needed, and through our efforts to upgrade training, increase collaboration and consultation with customers, stakeholders and communities, and invest in the right tools for those on our operational frontlines to work more efficiently.


While multiple teams across the Company were involved in preparing and testing our systems for space-based ADS-B, others closer to the ground were spearheading innovations aimed at improving performance at Canada’s four major airports, starting with Toronto Pearson. Other teams were launching a multi- year initiative to shift our internal business systems to next-generation cloud-based solutions.

Finance and governance

Running the business in a sound and cost- effective way enabled us to announce an average 0.4 per cent reduction in customer service charges, delivering our third rate decrease in as many years.


NAV CANADA plays an important role in aviation around the world, in Canada and in our communities, but like most Canadians, we tend to be modest about our accomplishments. This past year, we put greater effort into communicating our activities and accomplishments with stakeholders, employees and our communities. We were proud to be designated a Caring Company by Imagine Canada for our leadership in charitable giving, and the superb volunteer efforts of our employees.

Innovating for tomorrow

Looking ahead, there are a number of projects that will reach key milestones in fiscal 2019 and help us take safety, efficiency and sustainability to the next level. Clearly, space-based ADS-B is one of them, but there are many more, ranging from our continued deployment of an integrated safety information system to new technologies and procedures that will directly affect service delivery and impact the environment. These changes and new technologies will bring real benefits, but they will not be without impact.

We are sensitive to this, and it’s why consultation is a priority – whether it is to gain insight from our employees as we implement systems, to understand the potential impact of noise around airports, or to better support efficient operations in the air and on the ground.

In closing, I would like to say what an honour and privilege it is to serve as the President and CEO of NAV CANADA. I am grateful to our Board, and to our customers and stakeholders, for their trust and support.


Neil R. Wilson
President and CEO



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