A company called ForeFlight has released data for their iPad app that covers IFR procedures in Canada. It includes all volumes of the Canada Air Pilot (approach and departures plates, plus taxiway diagrams) and the IFR high and low enroute charts, and is legal for inflight IFR use. It's not clear whether the database includes the terminal charts, but it kind of has to because the information density around the big cities isn't sufficient in the regular LO charts. It doesn't seem to include the CFS data, but I can't think of information you need for safe IFR navigation that is in the CFS but not the CAP. We'll also have to wait for VFR chart data. Nav Canada is not forthcoming with its data.
There is Transport Canada guidance document and an FAA equivalent governing Electronic Flight Bags, as these systems are called. Page ten of the US version explains how the paper documents can be completely phased out once the system is verified reliable in a given operation, and wording in the Canadian version implies that it allows for completely paperless applications as well.
This isn't something astonishingly new, and I'm sure lots of you are already using such products. What caught my attention today was the price. As far as I can tell, you download the core of the app for free and then pay to add a subscription to the data you need. A ForeFlight Canada subscription costs US $149.99 for a year. For comparison, a subscription to all the editions of the CAP and the high and low charts costs $441 a year, plus taxes. If you only fly in only two regions of Canada, an annual mailed subscription of paper charts will cost you $142, so if you already have an iPad, that's the same cost for paper or electronic. The iPad is probably also about the same weight and the same difficulty to stuff in your flight bag as one LO and one region of the CAP.
Advantages of paper documents over the iPad are that they are unattractive to thieves, still work after they have been dropped or slammed in the trunk door of a cab, will probably dry out to a usable state if you get drenched by rain, are better for starting a fire in an emergency situation, you can write clearances on them, you can unfold them all over the hotel bed to have a wide-screen view of your proposed trip, and the batteries cannot run out. Also they make good auxiliary sunvisors, if you don't have a newspaper.
The iPad wins on staying the same size even if you are flying in all seven regions of Canada, being self-illuminated, allowing scrolling without having to flip the map over, letting you zoom the scale in or out and it probably has a search function. I don't know if you can mark it up with virtual post-its, but you can play Plants versus Zombies on it and check your e-mail while waiting for maintenance to release the aircraft.
What's it like flying with one of these? Does it have a function to do your cold weather corrections automatically or is there a way to mark up a plate after you get the latest METAR, to show all the cold weather corrections and the time to go on a non-precision approach? An iPad seems kind of bulky to mount on the yoke. Where do you put it? How far did you get on Plants versus Zombies?