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Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for International Aviation - Discussion Paper

The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is a way to manage emissions from the global aviation industry. It’s one way that the ICAO member countries are working towards carbon neutral growth for international aviation from 2020 onwards. 

On this page:

  • Why is CORSIA needed?
  • Who is affected by CORSIA?
  • How does offsetting work?
  • Monitoring, reporting and verification
  • Implementation in Canada

Why is CORSIA needed?

The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is a way to manage emissions from the global aviation industry. It’s one way that the ICAO member countries are working towards carbon neutral growth for international aviation from 2020 onwards. 

Who’s affected by CORSIA?

CORSIA will affect aircraft operators with international flights (flights between Canada and another country) that result in 10,000* + tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. 

CORSIA doesn’t apply to:

  • flights within Canada
  • aircraft with less than 5,700 kg maximum take-off weight
  • humanitarian, medical or firefighting operations
  • new air operators
    • They are exempt from offsetting for their first three years of operation 

How does offsetting work?

CORSIA is a global market-based measure that requires air operators to acquire and cancel emissions units to offset a part of their carbon dioxide emissions.

  • An “emissions unit” is a certificate that represent a reduction or removal of greenhouse gases by carbon sink in another sector (like energy, waste or forestry).
  • A “carbon sink” is any reservoir that absorbs more carbon than it releases. Carbon sinks lower the concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere.

When the scheme begins and until 2027, these offsetting rules will only apply to routes between the 88 countries that are participating voluntarily. Both the arrival and departure countries must be participating in the scheme for a route to be included. Canada volunteered to participate.

By 2027, most countries will have to participate in CORSIA, so it will apply to most international routes. After 2027, the only routes not covered will be those to and from countries with low air traffic, or those to and from countries that are classified as: 

  • Least Developed Countries
  • Small Island Developing States
  • Landlocked Developing States

To start, CORSIA will set the amount of emissions an operator has to offset based on their share of all international aviation emissions on covered routes and the sector’s growth after 2020. Eventually, CORSIA’s emission obligations will be based on how much an operator’s emissions grow after 2020.

Starting in 2025, and then every three years, operators will have to acquire and retire enough emissions units that match their offsetting obligation for the most recent three-year period. These emissions units are generated from reductions in CO2 emissions that occur outside the sector.

Operators can also reduce their need to offset emissions by using CORSIA eligible fuels. 

Monitoring, reporting, and verification 

All operators with international operations began monitoring and reporting their covered carbon dioxide emissions in 2019 and will do so every year. Operators must hire a third-party to check their reports before submitting them to Transport Canada. The baseline information that we collect will help us set the offset requirements for 2021 and beyond.

Implementation in Canada

Transport Canada began developing Canadian CORSIA regulations in the fall of 2017, based on the final draft requirements from the International Civil Aviation Organization. Regulations for monitoring, reporting and verification came into effect on January 1, 2019.

The proposed regulations for the offsetting part of CORSIA are currently published in the Canada Gazette, Part I and will come into effect in 2021.

Contact information

Contact us by mail:

Transport Canada Civil Aviation

Environmental Protection and Standards

Place de Ville, Tower C

330 Sparks St., 6th floor

Ottawa ON K1A 0N5

Contact us by email: tc.corsia.tc@tc.gc.ca


*10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide represents approximately 3,160 tonnes of fuel.