Canada’s new drone regulations: Greater regulatory certainty achieved with permissive approach to incorporating drones into airspace

The final version of Canada’s new regulations for visual-line-of-sight operations for drones weighing between 250g and 25kg, were introduced by Transport Canada in January 2019. These regulations constitute significant revisions to the proposed version of the regulations that were prepared and released in July 2017 (a summary of the proposed version can be found here). The new Part IX to the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) mostly come into force on June 1, 2019.

It was high time to update Canada’s drone regulations. Transport Canada acknowledged this need in the Regulatory Impact Statement accompanying the regulations, noting that “…the existing Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) do not provide a regulatory framework that promotes the economic potential of RPAS nor does it contain modern, risk- and performance-based regulations that can uphold aviation safety.”

Key features of the new regulations

Transport Canada’s stated objectives for the new regulations are to i) create regulatory predictability for business, and ii) reduce the risk to aviation safety caused by drones.

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BREAKING NEWS: Official Drone Regulations Released by Transport Canada (Jan 9, 2019)

After much anticipation, Transport Canada announced the official drone regulations at a press conference this morning in Montreal, Quebec. Embracing the nomenclature change to refer to drones as “remotely piloted aircraft systems”, the official regulations reflect many changes to the laws in Canada for drones weighing between 250g and 25kg. Most of these new laws, including those described in our earlier blog post, will come into force and effect starting June 1, 2019.

The full text of the official regulations has been published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, and can be found here. A fulsome summary and highlights of the official regulations will follow shortly.

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