Update on the Regulatory framework – Transport Canada

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Update on the Regulatory framework – Transport Canada

Update on the Regulatory framework

Transport Canada

As part of the development of the new regulations on UAVs and following the Notice of proposed amendments launched in the summer of 2015, Transport Canada held on June 28th 2016 a presentation on the proposed update of the Regulatory framework. For now, the regulation only includes UAVs 25 kg or less controlled in sight. Any operation outside of this framework must always be authorized by Transport Canada via a Special Flight Operating Certificate (SFOC). Following the update of June 28th, here is a summary document that Transport Canada provided.



Executive Summary

Update to Stakeholders on Unmanned Air Vehicles

June 2016

Following the consultation on the Notice of Proposed Amendment for small Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), weighing 25 kg or less and operated within visual line-of-sight, Transport Canada has been finalizing the policy and regulatory framework.

The Department is currently developing proposed regulations that are expected to be made public in the Canada Gazette, Part I in spring 2017. Stakeholders and Canadians will have the opportunity to provide comments as part of the consultation period.

For stakeholders who may not be familiar with the process for making regulations, regulations are pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I for a formal comment period. Adjustments are made as required based on the comments received and the regulations are then published in the Canada Gazette, Part II and considered final. A transition period is normally provided prior to the coming into force of a new regulation. For more information about the Canada Gazette process:


At this time, the regulatory exemptions (exemption for under 2 kg / exemption for 2 kg to 25 kg) remain valid and will be updated prior to their current expiry date of December 16, 2016. For those that cannot meet the conditions of the exemptions, until such time as the final regulations are published, you can apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate.

Transport Canada continues to seek a balanced and risk-based approach to both safely integrate UAVs into Canadian airspace and encourage innovation within this important new subsector of civil aviation.

Here are some highlights of the updated proposed policy and regulatory framework based on feedback received from stakeholders on the Notice of Proposed Amendment, industry growth, risk analysis and, where possible, discussions with international partners:

    • Removing the regulatory distinction between recreational and non-recreational users.
    • Exclusion to be made for modelling associations with robust safety guidelines. Introducing an “unregulated” category with a threshold of 250 g or less.
    • Reducing the “very small” weight threshold to 1 kg based on a risk assessments, safety analysis and ongoing research.
    • Marking and registration now for “small complex” only. Identification for other regulated categories.
    • UAV Design Standard now for “small complex” only (higher risk environments).
    • Pilot permit requirement for “small complex” UAVs. Knowledge requirements for “very small” and “small limited” UAVs commensurate to category.
    • Adjusting minimum age requirements to mirror manned aviation licensing requirements.
    • Regulating some tethered UAVs as obstacles and not regulating indoor operations.
    • Requiring liability insurance for all categories of UAVs.

Transport Canada would like to reiterate that these are only proposed changes and are not yet currently in place. The formal consultation period along with the actual text of the proposed regulations will be communicated to all stakeholders for consultation when ready and published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, in spring 2017.


It is important to add that Transport Canada representatives mentioned that the best way for the companies to prepare for the new regulation is to work to become a compliant operator. This involves complying with the specified staff instruction 623-001 section 9.0 (procedures of requests for the complying operators) and to the annex C (complying criteria regarding the fabrication of small UAVs) and D (complying criteria for small UAVs operators).

Annex C enunciates the platform complying criteria. To undergo complex operations, under the proposed Regulatory framework, it will be necessary to operate with one or more platforms recognized as compliant. The devices should therefore comply with the design criteria of annex C and be documented as such.

Annex D sets out the conformity criteria to conduct these operations. This means documenting operation management, security management, risk assessment, training program and procedures through an Operations Manual.

The complying operators at the time of the entry in force of the new regulation will not have a big step to climb. The implementation of the new documentation is expected in the fall of 2017 with a transition period for the operators.

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