The Canadian government's Transport Canada has launched a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) safety-awareness campaign, which includes updated guidelines for operations.
Lisa Raitt, the minister of transport, launched the campaign for both recreational and commercial UAV users. The first phase provides the public with new safety guidelines and an infographic that clarifies when to apply for permission from Transport Canada, which has also launched a new website with information and advice.
This winter, the second phase of the campaign will include search engine and social media advertising, awareness videos, and a simpler process to apply for permission to fly, the agency says.
The new safety guidelines complement the country’s existing requirements. In addition to respecting the Canadian Aviation Regulations, Transport Canada says, UAV operators must follow the rules in all acts and regulations, including the Criminal Code, as well as all municipal, provincial and territorial laws regarding trespassing and privacy.
Transport Canada says it regulates the use of all aircraft, manned and unmanned, to keep the public and airspace safe and secure in the country, which has had safety regulations in place that govern the use of UAVs since 1996. It says it is now working to develop new regulations that will help safely integrate unmanned aircraft into civil airspace, while maintaining the safety of those on the ground and in the skies.
Transport Canada explains the following regulations:
- Operators must apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate if they use their UAV for commercial purposes or if it weighs more than 35 kg (regardless of how it's used).
- If a UAV is operated without a Special Flight Operations Certificate and should be, Transport Canada can issue fines of up to $5,000 for an individual and $25,000 for a company.
- If an operator does not follow the requirements of the Special Flight Operations Certificate, Transport Canada can issue fines of up to $3,000 for an individual and $15,000 for a business.
- Flying an UAV too close to passenger jets or closer than 8 km to airports can lead to criminal charges and steep fines for individuals and companies.
More on Transport Canada’s regulations can be found on its new website.