Drone flying laws to change in Canada

Starting June 1st, all drone-users in Canada will be required by law, to obtain a special drone pilot licence in order to fly. The new rules were unveiled this morning by Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau.

Pilots will have to pass an exam and obtain a pilot licence in order to fly or else they’ll face fines of up to $25 000. While Transport Canada says the RCMP will be enforcing the new laws, it hasn’t been made clear exactly they’re going to monitor this.

According to researchers, if a recreational drone were to hit a plane wing in mid-air it would slice right through it.

This is why drone sightings are taken so seriously at airports – like the grounding of planes at London’s Heathrow Airport today, and last month at Gatwick.

This is also one of the reasons why the federal government has stepped in and created stricter rules for drone-pilots here in Canada.

The drone licence will be similar to having a boating licence, in which you’ll need to pass an online exam in order to get licensed.

Many drone users say this isn’t an inconvenience, but rather, a good thing.

All drones, whether for recreation or commercial use, that weigh between 250 grams and 25 kilograms will fall under the new rules.

One of our camera operators here at CHCH News flies drones in his spare time as a hobby, but says being able to use it on the job, for television purposes, would be a game changer.

Here in Hamilton, there is very little – if any – unrestricted airspace, making flying in the city a no-go.

Transport Canada has an interactive map on their site that allows drone users to click on the map, go to use my location or zoom in, and it’ll automatically show you what areas you can and cannot fly in.

And some newer models have a mechanism that will actually ground the drone, if it detects unrestricted or unsafe airspace.

The cost of the licensing exam ranges from $5 to $10, depending on the model and weight of your drone.

Drone pilots will need to have their operating licences on them and proof of registration on them at all times when flying, either a hard copy, or electronic version on their phone. Failure to provide the licence come June 1st, can result in some hefty fines.