The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport made a recent announcement about Canada’s new rules for remotely piloted aircraft systems a.k.a. drones at the École de Technologie Supérieure (ETS) in downtown Montreal. Drone pilots will be required to register their drones and obtain a pilot certificate by June 1, 2019 when the new regulations come into force. Canadian drones will have to have a registration number that is clearly marked and stay below 400 feet. The new regulatory framework will apply to all drones between 250 grams and 25 kilograms operated within the drone pilot’s visual-line-of-sight.
“The new rules will apply regardless of the flight’s purpose whether it’s for work, for research, or for fun,” Garneau said. “This is very serious business. If you put an object in the air, in the air space of this country, you are in fact piloting it, and if you cause an accident that can have enormous repercussions, then you have to realize that there will be a price to pay for that.”
An errant drone that flies into an airplane’s cockpit can cause serious damage.There have been drone scares at airports all over the world with flyaway drones interrupting air flights. Drone pilots who don’t comply with the new law once it comes into effect this spring will risk fines of up to $25,000 and may even face jail time. Under the new drone rules a drone pilot must be a minimum of 14 years of age for basic operations and 16 years for advanced operations, unless supervised by a licensed adult. Drones pilots will have to stay away from air traffic and be sober while piloting their drones like any other air pilot.
In addition to registration and licensing drone pilots will have to pass an online exam provided by Transport Canada. However, these requirements don’t appear onerous for drone enthusiasts like Vijithan Rajaratnam a mechanical engineering student at ETS and President of its student drone club DRONOLAB. “The only difference is that our pilots will have to have a class online which is not that difficult to get,” he says. “It’s pretty accessible for anybody online at Transport Canada.”