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New governance rules for drones in Canada

The number of safety incidents involving drones has been on the rise worldwide, according to Bloomberg. Perhaps the most publicized issue was the incident (or rather series of incidents) affecting Gatwick airport in the U.K.) Between 19 and 21 December 2018, hundreds of flights were cancelled at Gatwick Airport due to reports of drone sightings close to the runway. The event, which has yet to be resolved caused major travel disruption, affecting 140,000 passengers and in excess of 1,000 flights. In January 2019 a similar incident affected another U.K. airspace – Heathrow airport.

Elsewhere, as Tech Republic surveys, in 2015 there was a drone that crash landed on the White House lawn; also in the U.S. a journalist was injured when a drone crashed into the face of Brooklyn Daily’s Georgine Benvenuto, clipping the end of her nose; and a drone also crashed into an athlete competing in the Geraldton Endure Batavia triathlon in Australia.

Drone issues have similarly affected Canada. By December 2018, aircraft in Canadian skies had almost 500 near-misses involving drones in the past four years, based on government data. Transport Canada also confirmed to CTV News there were 95 incidents where drones posed a risk to aviation safety during 2018.

In response to these types of incidents, the Canadian government has put in place strict new regulations to govern the use of drones in Canadian airspace. These laws prohibit drones them from flying near airports and emergency scenes. The legislation also seeks to ensure that people operating them are in control of their mental facilities, and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

With the new law, there are serious penalties, for those who break the rules, which will jointly enforced by Transport Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Individuals and corporations can face fines or jail time for: putting aircraft and people at risk, flying without a drone pilot certificate and for flying unmarked or unregistered drones.

The new regulations apply to drones weighing between 250 grams and 25 kilograms. For larger drones, spec ail permission is needed. Similar controls over drones are being considered in the U.K.

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