Canada to impose stricter rules for drones next year

Government agencies worldwide have seen a spike in drone incidents in recent years

A plane comes in to land at Gatwick Airport in England, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Incoming new rules for drone operation in Canada are designed to help buck a growing global trend of incursions into space reserved for air travel.

This was according to government officials, as tens of thousands of travellers in Britain grappled with the fallout of the largest such incident to date.

Canadians were among those stranded at London’s Gatwick Airport, which effectively shut down for 36 hours after drones were spotted buzzing the runway.

The prospect of a deadly collision between what police described as industrial-grade drones and an airliner led authorities to stop all flights in and out of Britain’s second-busiest airport on Thursday. While flights had resumed by Friday, officials said more delays and cancellations were expected.

Government agencies around the world, including Transport Canada, have documented a spike in the number of incidents posing a risk to aviation safety in recent years.

The federal agency said tighter regulations that would impose age limits, knowledge tests and registration requirements on all drone operators are set to come into effect in 2019 and will hopefully curb the trend.

“The number of reported incidents more than tripled from 38 when data collection began in 2014 to 135 last year,” Transport Canada said in a statement, adding the 2018 figure stood at 95 as of Nov. 30. “This brings with it increasing threats to the safety of Canadian airspace and to the safety of people on the ground.”

Canada and several other countries already have rules in place mandating minimum distances between drones and airspace, with guidelines changing based on the size and classification of the drone.

Existing rules impose few limits on those wanting to fly drones weighing less than 35 kilograms for recreational purposes and no special permissions are necessary, but Transport Canada offers some guidelines for safe operation. These include flying drones less than 90 metres above the ground, staying at least 5.6 kilometres away from airports and 1.9 kilometres away from heliports.

Violating those rules, the agency said, could result in fines of up to $3,000.

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack Mural Festival comes alive in the downtown core

‘Murals offer a safe way for people to enjoy socially distanced artwork,’ says organizer

Chilliwack museum looking for public feedback on exhibits

Online survey will help drive three-year plan for future exhibit possibilities

Mission man who nearly died from COVID-19 at Abbotsford hospital reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

Lavender hand sanitizer sale raises cash for Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

Golf course and lavender farm partner up to support health care in the Fraser Valley

Donations of fresh produce sought from Chilliwack backyard gardeners

Hamper program from Chilliwack Citizens for Change to serve those with special dietary needs

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment’s history included submachine gun, body armour

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read