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

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

Coast Mountain College appoints a new president

The promotion came from within the school

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

College finds a new president

Promotion comes from within

Kitamaat women complete the three-peat at All Native

Haisla team unstoppable in final as they rout Hazelton; Adelia Paul back to back MVP

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

Most Read