In life, we all have things that we are passionate about. Things that excite us; things that help us relax and escape. If you are here, it is because you are an aviation enthusiast of some sort. You either enjoy the benefits of the aviation industry, or you are directly involved in the aviation industry. Either way, if the aviation industry were restricted in a meaningful way, it would affect you and your way of life.
Often these attempts on altering the aviation industry are not done with malicious intent. Another advocacy organization, social movement, or government will push for some sort of change that to them, seems like a good idea. Without an organized voice defending the interests of aviation, the concerns of the aviation industry will be ignored.
The good news is that there are lots of advocacy organizations serving the interests of the aviation industry to choose from. If you are an Airline Pilot employed by a unionized carrier, there is the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA). Or, if you’re a Professional Pilot there is the College of Pilots. If you are a pilot that only flies general aviation aircraft (think small single-engine or light twin-engine aircraft) or just an aviation enthusiast there is the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA).
COPA is Canada’s largest aviation advocacy organization with 15,000 members from coast to coast to coast. COPA’s specifically focuses on general aviation’s interest. So what does that mean? It means that COPA uses it’s bilingual staff at their office in Ottawa, steps from the main office of Transport Canada, NAV CANADA (the company in charge of Canada’s Air Navigation System) and Parliament Hill, to advocate on behalf of its members so that you don’t have to. As the recognized voice of General Aviation in Canada, government and non-government agencies turn to COPA first when discussing new policies or potential new regulations that affect general aviation.
That type of collaborative relationship didn’t happen overnight. It took decades of work to establish the resources and rapport that are required to be a successful advocacy organization. So, to answer the initial question of why join an advocacy organization; it’s simple. Any organization is only as strong as its members. More members mean more influence. A collective voice that speaks for 15,000 people across Canada is going to be much more powerful than a group of 100 people in one part of the country. That’s the type of voice that gets results.
In addition to the indirect benefits of having an organization fighting for you in Ottawa, you also often receive great direct benefits of being in an organization like COPA. There are members discounts at businesses across Canada, discounted rates on home, auto and of course aircraft insurance and lots of social media content to go along with 12 issues of COPA Flight magazine. If you take advantage of these discounts, you will get far and above in return what you pay to be a member of COPA.
If you are interested in advancing, promoting, or preserving the Canadian freedom to fly and aren’t a member of COPA, it’s time to give COPA a look.
Clark Morawetz is on the board of directors for the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) and can be followed on instagram @ctmorawetz
See other Aviation articles from The Modern Aviator here.