Like most Canadian pilots, I’m running pretty late updating my AIP, so I just noticed the contents of Aeronautical Information Circular 10/05 from last April. It’s worth quoting in full:
Removal of the phrase “VFR flight not recommended” in pilot briefing
Until now, a flight service specialist was required to state the phrase “VFR FLIGHT NOT RECOMMENDED” at the beginning of a pilot briefing for a VFR flight when extensive instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) or conditions that may affect the safety of the flight were reported or forecast to occur along the planned route of flight. The phrase was advisory in nature and the conditions that prompted the use of the phrase were then to be stated and the pilot was to be asked if a briefing was still required.
Pilots have requested that the phrase no longer [be] used in briefings. It was reported that flights were cancelled because the phrase was used even though the flights could have been conducted.
NAV CANADA recognizes that the responsibility for determining if a flight should be conducted or not rests solely with the pilot. The requirement for flight service specialists to use the phrase “VFR FLIGHT NOT RECOMMENDED” is discontinued and the phrase will no longer be used at the beginning of a pilot briefing. Significant meteorological information that could influence the pilot to alter or cancel the proposed flight will continue to be provided at the beginning of the briefing in accordance with current practice.
Kathleen Fox, Vice-President, Operations
Most U.S. pilots I’ve talked to hate the phrase “VFR not recommended”, but I don’t remember ever having heard it in Canada, even before this circular went around. This is similar to the attitude towards icing — Canadian forecasts mention icing only when there is a strong possibility of moderate-to-severe, while the U.S. puts out a standard icing NOTAM if there is even a small chance of trace-to-light. I’m not sure which side is safer to err on.