Canadian Skies Abuzz – Proposed New Drone Rules Coming
” Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more popularly known as drones, are power-driven aircraft that are designed to fly without a human operator onboard.
UAVs are increasingly being used in Canada for civil and commercial applications, such as aerial inspection, monitoring, mapping and surveying, communications and broadcasting, remote photography and filmmaking, and logistics. A diverse range of industries and sectors stand to benefit from the technology, including retail, energy, utilities, mining, agriculture, construction, telecommunications, shipping, environmental protection and emergency response. UAVs are popular because they can be rapidly deployed, particularly in difficult to access or unsafe environments, and have relatively low capital and operating costs.
Canada has, to date, adopted a relatively permissive approach to regulating UAVs that aims to strike a balance between promoting the commercial use of the technology and ensuring safety. Transport Canada, which is the government department responsible for regulating the use of UAVs, has established a regulatory regime premised on certification, but with various exemptions for recreational users and commercial operators flying small UAVs. However, the rapid rise in drone popularity (including both public recreational use and commercial use) has been accompanied by an increasing number of incidents related to reckless and negligent UAV use. Indeed, since 2010, Transport Canada has launched more than 50 investigations into incidents involving UAVs.
In response, Transport Canada announced in 2015 that it intended to introduce new drone regulations for drones that weigh 25 kilograms (55 pounds) or less and are operated “within the visual line of sight.” Transport Canada also issued a Notice of Proposed Amendment to its regulations, and throughout the summer of 2015, it engaged in an extensive consultation process with numerous stakeholders. The Department is now in the final stages of developing the proposed regulations that are expected to be made available to the public for formal comment in the Canada Gazette, Part I, in the spring of 2017.”