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The Air Board, Canada's first governing body for aviation, existed from 1919 to 1923. The Canadian government established the Air Board by act of Parliament on June 6, 1919, with the purpose of controlling all flying within Canada. Canada was the first country to legislate and implement rules governing the entire domain of aviation.[1]

Air Board of Canada
Flag of the Air Board of Canada (1922–1923).svg
Ensign of the Air Board from 1922–23.
Agency overview
Superseding agency
HeadquartersOttawa, Ontario
Agency executive



The Air Board had three functions: devising a means of, and administering Canadian air defence; controlling and conducting all civil (non-military) government flying operations; and providing rules and regulations for flying within Canada, which included licensing, issuing air regulations and managing air traffic. The Board consisted of three sections: 1) the Department of the Controller of Civil Aviation which controlled all civil flying; 2) the Directorate of Flying Operations which controlled civil flying operations of the Air Board; and 3) the Headquarters of the Canadian Air Force (CAF), which operated at Camp Borden.[2]


Several air stations were established for civil flying operations:

1. Naval Air Station Halifax, a former US Navy seaplane base used for fishery and forestry patrols, and aerial photography.

2. Roberval, Quebec, a seaplane base on Lac Saint-Jean used for forestry patrols and surveying.

3. Jericho Beach, British Columbia, used for fishery, forestry, anti-smuggling patrols.

4. Morley, Alberta, used for forestry patrols (later moved to High River, Alberta).

5. Rockcliffe, Ontario, used for photo surveying.

6. Victoria Beach, Manitoba, a seaplane base used for forestry patrols.


List of members of the board from 1920[3]:

  • Dr. Robert M. Coulter - Member and Deputy Postmaster General[4]
  • John Armistead Wilson, Member and Assistant Deputy Minister for Naval Service - later Controller of Civil Aviation with Department of National Defence and Transport Canada 1922–1941[5]
  • Edward S. Busby - Chief Inspector of Department of Customs and Inland Revenue][4]

Operations staffEdit


In 1922 the Air Board, along with the former Department of Militia and Defence and the Department of Naval Service, was absorbed into the new Department of National Defence (DND). January 1, 1923, however, was set as the formal change-over date to allow time for reorganization.[7] The CAF, which had been a small non-permanent air militia directed by the Air Board and originally formed to provide refresher flying training to veterans, was reorganized and became responsible for all Canadian flying operations including the control of civil aviation. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), which was created in 1924, would direct civil flying until 1927 when a Civil Aviation Branch was created within the DND.[8] In November 1936 the Civil Aviation Branch was transferred to the new Department of Transport, which would control all civil flying except for work directly related to defence.[7][9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Roberts 1959, p. 32.
  2. ^ Milberry 1984, p. 18.
  3. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-03-12. Retrieved 2019-01-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Shaw, S. Bernard (12 January 2019). "Photographing Canada from Flying Canoes". GeneralStore PublishingHouse. p. 4. Retrieved 12 January 2019 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Wilson, J. A. (John Armistead). "J.A. Wilson fonds". Archeion - MemoryBC - Aberta on Record. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Major Alexander MacDonald Shook". Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  7. ^ a b Milberry 1984, p. 23.
  8. ^ Roberts 1959, p. 101.
  9. ^ Roberts 1959, p. 110.


  • Milberry, Larry, ed. Sixty Years—The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924–1984. Toronto: Canav Books, 1984. ISBN 0-9690703-4-9.
  • Roberts, Leslie. There Shall Be Wings. Toronto: Clark, Irwin and Co. Ltd., 1959. No ISBN.

External linksEdit