Canada unveils new drone safety regulations

Today, Transport for Canada has announced a set of new regulations for citizens in Canada using drone technology. 

Starting June 1, 2019, drone users in Canada will have to register their devices and obtain a pilot certificate. The new rules will apply to drones weighing between 250 grams and 25kg.

The regulations introduce two main categories when it comes to drone operation: basic and advanced. Both categories, the government says, requires users to obtain registration and certification.

Drone pilot certificates

Basic drone operators will need to pass an online exam to obtain a pilot certificate, and advanced drone users, who want to fly in controlled airspace or around other people, also have to take an exam and pass a flight review.

For the basic license, the minimum age requirement for operators is now 14-years-old. The legal age for those want to attain the advanced license is now 16-year-old, unless supervised they are by a person who has the relevant certificates.

Drone pilots aren’t allowed to fly above 400 feet and must stay away from air traffic, such as airports. Those who need to fly a drone outside of the rules for basic and advanced operation require a Special Flight Operation Certificate (SFOC).

If individuals violate these regulations when they come into force on June 1, 2019, they could face a fine of up to $3,000. Businesses, on the other hand, will have to pay a fine of up to $15,000.

Until the new rules come into effect individuals who use their drones for recreational use must continue to follow the rule of the Interim Order Respecting the Use of Model Aircraft.

Pilots who use drones for business purposes must also continue to follow the rules of their Special Flight Operations Certificate.

Drone incidents

The rising use of unmanned aerial vehicles has caused security concerns after the recent shutdown of London’s Gatwick airport.

Drones haven’t caused a major airport shutdown in Canada – but there have been many near-misses, according to a 2017 Reuters report.