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14 Jul 2017

Canada’s Proposed Commercial UAV Regulations Released

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After years of hard work by the fine people at Transport Canada, the proposed commercial UAV regulations have been released. This article is to talk about what happened today. Soon you will see more on what the proposed rules are and how they are going to impact Canadian UAV operations.

Why is this a big deal?

This is a big deal because Canada has been surviving on a temporary system of rules and processes for a very long time. While commercial UAV flights have been permitted and are commonplace, we have fallen behind much of the world in keeping up with the surge in popularity of UAVs.

What was released today is going to define the future of commercial UAV operations in Canada. Will drone delivery be possible? What kind of license will you need? What are the training requirements going to be?

What was released today?

Today we have a look at the regulations that are being proposed for implementation as amendments to the CARs (Canadian Aeronautical Regulations) for official laws for the use of UAVs for commercial purposes.

These regulations are not law yet!

What is the process to release new regulations?

The process is as follows

  1. 2015 Winter: Notice of Proposed Amendments
  2. 2017 Summer: Canada Gazette I – Proposed
  3. 2017 Summer and Fall: Public feedback
  4. 2017 Winter: Canada Gazette II – Law
  5. 2018 Summer: Completed Implementation

In Canada Gazette I (CG1) we see what is being proposed. This is the product of years of work with stakeholders and working groups and many months of internal government regulatory development. This is our chance to read through everything and form opinions to provide feedback to Transport Canada.

Public feedback is important to the regulatory process and to ensure that we have our say in what is reasonable and works for all public stakeholders. Aerobotika, Unmanned Systems Canada, and Transport Canada all strongly urge everyone to take time to read over the proposed regulations and provide feedback.

Canada Gazette II is the final release of the regulations when they are voted in as law. Once they are published in here they are law. At this point, all Canadian UAV stakeholders are going have to start preparing to implement the necessary changes in their organization to get ready for implementation. It is understood that you cannot be ready before the regulations are official, so there is an implementation period.

The implementation period for the new UAV rules is going to be about 6 months. This is the amount of time that Transport Canada and operators are going to have to prepare to meet the new rules. Once that 6 month(ish) period is up, you will have to comply with the new rules.

We do not know yet whether blanket / standing SFOCs will be grandfathered in and be valid until the end of their stated validity. That is to say, if I have a 12 month blanket SFOC that was issued in November 2017, will it be valid beyond the implementation period to November 2018? This has yet to be seen.

Summary

If you fly or will fly UAVs, drones, RPA, RPAS, UAS or whatever you want to call them for any reason other than the pure enjoyment of flying; you are a commercial operator. If you are a commercial operator, you need to read what was released today and you need to comment.

How to comment

  1. Read the rules and understand them. If you need other opinions or if you want to talk with other stakeholders, try the Unmanned Systems Canada or Special Flight Operations Certificate Facebook groups
  2. Join the discussion on the Unmanned Systems Canada website. These is the one location that will be collecting comments to send back to the minister.
  3. If you want a voice in these and other regulations in the future, join USC at https://www.unmannedsystems.ca

Resources

  • The proposed rules: Canada Gazette I
  • Aerobotika’s new regulations dashboard
  • Aerobotika’s breakdown and explanation of the proposed rules – Coming this weekend
  • Aerobotika’s take of the proposed rules – Coming this weekend
  • Aerobotika’s list of “How to be a legal UAV operator in 2018” – Coming this weekend
  • Unmanned Systems Canada’s CG1 Articles – Coming this weekend