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29 Jun 2016

Stakeholders Update from CARAC

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The Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council met earlier this week in Ottawa to discuss the Notice of Proposed Amendments.  Below is the update issued from this meeting.


Executive Summary

Update to Stakeholders on Unmanned Air Vehicles

June 2016

Following the consultation on the Notice of Proposed Amendment for small Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), weighing 25 kg or less and operated within visual line-of-sight, Transport Canada has been finalizing the policy and regulatory framework.

The Department is currently developing proposed regulations that are expected to be made public in the Canada Gazette, Part I in spring 2017. Stakeholders and Canadians will have the opportunity to provide comments as part of the consultation period.

For stakeholders who may not be familiar with the process for making regulations, regulations are pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I for a formal comment period. Adjustments are made as required based on the comments received and the regulations are then published in the Canada Gazette, Part II and considered final. A transition period is normally provided prior to the coming into force of a new regulation. For more information about the Canada Gazette process: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/cg-gc/lm-sp-eng.html.

At this time, the regulatory exemptions (exemption for under 2 kg / exemption for 2 kg to 25 kg) remain valid and will be updated prior to their current expiry date of December 16, 2016. For those that cannot meet the conditions of the exemptions, until such time as the final regulations are published, you can apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate.

Transport Canada continues to seek a balanced and risk-based approach to both safely integrate UAVs into Canadian airspace and encourage innovation within this important new subsector of civil aviation.

Here are some highlights of the updated proposed policy and regulatory framework based on feedback received from stakeholders on the Notice of Proposed Amendment, industry growth, risk analysis and, where possible, discussions with international partners.

  • Removing the regulatory distinction between recreational and non-recreational users.
  • Exclusion to be made for modelling associations with robust safety guidelines. Introducing an “unregulated” category with a threshold of 250 g or less.
  • Reducing the “very small” weight threshold to 1 kg based on a risk assessments, safety analysis and ongoing research.
  • Marking and registration now for “small complex” only. Identification for other regulated categories.
  • UAV Design Standard now for “small complex” only (higher risk environments).
  • Pilot permit requirement for “small complex” UAVs. Knowledge requirements for “very small” and “small limited” UAVs commensurate to category.
  • Adjusting minimum age requirements to mirror manned aviation licensing requirements.
  • Regulating some tethered UAVs as obstacles and not regulating indoor operations.
  • Requiring liability insurance for all categories of UAVs.

Transport Canada would like to reiterate that these are only proposed changes and are not yet currently in place. The formal consultation period along with the actual text of the proposed regulations will be communicated to all stakeholders for consultation when ready and published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, in spring 2017.

Thank you for your interest on this file.


TL;DR
New regulation ETA is Spring 2017.  TC will extend the exemptions to apply beyond their current expiry of December 16th, 2016.  The SFOC is still the way to go for the majority of commercial operations.