Canada has one of the safest air sectors in the world. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting innovation and economic growth in in the aviation industry, while making sure the safety of Canadians is held to the highest standard.
Last week, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced the first proposed Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) drone rules in Canada, which are also among the first in the world.
The proposed changes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) include rules for lower-risk operations of drones beyond visual line-of-sight and for the operation of medium-sized drones within visual line-of-sight.
The proposed rules would require drones to be capable of detecting and avoiding other air traffic to ensure safety. They would also introduce a new class of pilot certification for lower-risk BVLOS operations, including a requirement to meet a new drone pilot medical standard, and eliminate the requirement to obtain a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) for certain lower-risk BVLOS and medium-sized drone operations.
These proposed changes would benefit Canadians as it would permit drone operations such as package delivery to remote communities, first responder operations, and natural resources and wildlife surveys to take place – among many other potential uses.
The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, commented, “Drones present an opportunity to enhance the efficiency and reach of our transportation system, connect our communities, and modernize our supply chain networks. The proposed regulations, with a focus on mitigating safety risks while also supporting economic growth and innovation, would provide direct benefits to Canadians and unlock significant economic opportunities in Canada.”
Canadians and members of the drone industry are invited to provide feedback on the proposed regulations through Canada Gazette, Part I over a 90-day consultation period.
Some provisions of the regulations would come into force upon publication in Canada Gazette, Part II, which is anticipated in fall 2024, while others would come into force on April 1, 2025.
Quick facts- BVLOS in Canada
- Canada is one of the first countries in the world to propose comprehensive regulations for routine beyond visual line-of-sight drone operations.
- Beyond visual line-of-sight means the drone is beyond the operator’s direct visual line-of-sight. A visual aid (such as binoculars or video feed) may be used to monitor the drone’s location.
- Lower-risk operation of drones beyond visual line-of-sight means the drone is flown at low altitudes, away from populated areas and away from aerodromes listed in the Canada Flight Supplement.
- In January 2019, the first set of drone rules in Canada for operations of drones weighing less than 25kg within visual line-of-sight were published by Transport Canada. Nearly 90,000 drones have been registered in Canada to date and this number grows daily.
See the Federal Aviation Administration’s UAS Beyond Visual Line of Sight Aviation Rulemaking Committee Final Report released in March 2022.