Canada's new UAS rules set to go into effect on June 1

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On Jan. 9, Canada’s Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, announced Canada’s new rules for UAS, which will go into effect on June 1, 2019.

The rules will apply to all UAS pilots flying UAS between 250 grams and 25 kilograms (.55 pounds to 55 pounds) that are operated within the pilot’s visual-line-of-sight, regardless of whether the UAS is flown for fun, work or research.

Transport Canada says that the new simplified rules reflect a great amount of consultation with Canadians and the industry, with the final regulations introducing two main categories of UAS operation—basic and advanced—that are based on distance from bystanders and airspace rules.

Both categories have their own set of rules that will require the UAS pilot to, among many things, register and mark the UAS with its registration number; pass an online exam and get a pilot certificate for basic or advanced operations; and stay away from air traffic.

​Pilots must also be at least 14 years of age for basic operations, and 16 for advanced operations— unless supervised by a person having proper certificates—and they must stay below an altitude of 122 meters (400 feet) above ground level.

Transport Canada notes that only UAS pilots who need to fly a UAS outside the rules for basic or advanced operations will need to apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) before they fly.

“We’ve listened closely to feedback from Canadians and have updated our regulations to balance practicality and the safe use of drones,” Garneau says.

“Our new regulations will create new opportunities for Canadians by establishing a safe and predictable regulatory environment where the industry can innovate and where recreational and non-recreational drone pilots can safely access Canadian airspace.”

UAS pilots will need to have their Pilot Certificate and proof of registration—either an electronic version available on their mobile device or a printed copy—readily available when flying their UAS as of June 1.

Until the new rules go into effect on June 1, recreational UAS pilots must continue to follow the rules of the Interim Order Respecting the Use of Model Aircraft. Additionally, pilots using their UAS for work or research must continue to follow the conditions of their Special Flight Operations Certificate.

Information on the new regulations and helpful tools for all UAS pilots can be found here.

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