The Air Board was Canada's first governing body for aviation, operating 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.: 1–11 Canada was the first country to legislate and implement rules governing the entire domain of aviation.
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.
Five air stations were established for civil flying operations in 1920:
In 1922 the Air Board was combined with the Department of Militia and Defence and the Department of Naval Service to form the Department of National Defence (DND). January 1, 1923, however, was set as the formal change-over date to allow time for reorganization. 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 aviation, including the control of civil aviation. Both the Controller of Civil Aviation Branch and responsibility for civil government air operations remained under DND (though they were moved in and out of the RCAF's organization) until 1936. 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.