Passengers flying on Canadian carriers will no longer have to turn off their electronic devices during takeoff and landing, the federal government announced Monday, but they still have to keep the gadgets in “airplane mode” for the duration of their flights.

Under the new directive, passengers will no longer have to turn off their cellphones, tablets, video game consoles or e-readers during takeoff, ascent, descent and landing, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said Monday. However, the devices are still not allowed to transmit or receive signals.

Airlines are expected to implement the new directive as soon as possible, once they meet certain conditions, Raitt said.

  • They must demonstrate that implementing the change will not affect safety.
  • They must ensure that passengers are aware of the new rules, and have clear instructions to follow.

Passengers are still required to ensure their devices are in “airplane mode” for the duration of the flight, meaning they cannot send or receive phone calls, emails or text messages, or to surf the internet.

“It’s good news for air passengers and it’s good news for the Canadian aviation industry,” Raitt said in her announcement of the changes at the Ottawa International Airport.

The airlines were given advance notice of the coming change, Raitt said, to give them an opportunity to provide documentation to Transport Canada that safety will not be compromised, and to demonstrate that they have updated their safety manuals.

The change is meant to bring Canadian carriers in line with international standards, Raitt said. Last fall, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced that passengers would be allowed to use electronic devices from “gate to gate,” and the European Union made a similar announcement in December.