Last Updated: Friday, January 18th at 13:00 PST

Transport Canada has Released New Canadian Drone Regulations

Minister Garneau was in Montreal on January 9th to discuss the implementation of regulation for small (250g-25kgs) drones operated within visual line of sight. These rules were highly anticipated and industry experts agree they could impact the industry in a profound way.

These amendments introduce a new Part IX to the CARs (Canadian Aviation Regulations) that establish rules for all RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) weighing between 250 grams (g) and 25 kilograms (kg), as well as a general provision that prohibits RPA of any weight to be flown in a negligent or reckless manner. The weight threshold refers to the maximum take-off weight of the aircraft; it does not include the weight of the system used to control the aircraft. These amendments establish risk-based rules that mitigate the safety risks of RPAS through requirements for the pilot, the product (i.e. the RPAS) and the procedures to follow. The rules are divided into two areas: “basic operations” and “advanced operations.” The rules governing basic operations apply to the operation of RPAS outside of controlled airspace and more than 30 m away from people. The rules governing advanced operations apply to operations in controlled airspace, near people (between 30 m and 5 m of people), flying over people (less than 5 m from people), and within 3 nautical miles (NM) from the centre of an airport or within one NM from the centre of a heliport.

The new rules address three main areas:

  • The Pilot
    • Now requires individual certification (not covered under company-wide authorization)
    • Must demonstrate knowledge by passing an online test for the appropriate category of operations.
    • Advanced category applicants must pass an in-person flight review skill assessment
  • The Product
    • Must be declared by the manufacturer to meet certain standards if used in controlled airspace or within 3NM of airports/registered aerodromes and 1NM of heliports
    • Must be operated according to the manufacturer’s guidance (including temperature and maintenance requirements)
  • The Procedures
    • Operators in both Basic and Advanced category must have
      • Site Survey procedures
      • Standard Operating Procedures for normal and emergency operations
      • a method of tracking flight hours and maintenance

You can read the regulations for yourself here or download the RPAS excerpt here.

More to come! We’re researching and aggregating the key points as quickly as we can.