Canada toughens regulations on the use of drones

Le Canada durcit la règlementation sur l’utilisation des drones

OTTAWA – The canadian government announced Wednesday of new more stringent rules to govern the use of drones: their drivers need to obtain a certificate, to fly more than 5 km from an airport and without having consumed alcohol.

The canadian government followed suit in the Uk also announced stronger measures against the drones in the wake of incidents that have caused the mess at london’s Gatwick airport before Christmas. On Tuesday, a new report has briefly disrupted traffic at Heathrow airport.

To prevent such incidents, “we are working with various groups, including the airports, but also the security agencies, to examine the type of counter-measures that we could implement, depending on the type of drone and of the circumstances”, said the minister of Transport Marc Garneau at a press conference. It gave no other details, citing security reasons.

From June, the canadian owners of drones weighing between 250 grams and 25 kg will need to license and register their bikes and obtain a certificate online to be able to fly.

They will be prohibited from flying more than 120 meters altitude, at least 5.6 km of an airport or in the vicinity of intervention of emergency services. A special permit will be required to carry objects such as explosives or weapons. It will also need to be at least 14 years old to be able to fly a drone only, and not to have consumed drugs or alcohol 12 hours before.

“When you take control of an aircraft, you accept the responsibilities of a driver. You become a pilot,” said Mr. Garneau.

An offender is liable to a fine of up to $ 3,000 (about 2,000 euros), or even a prison sentence in the case of deliberate threat to the security of an airport.

In October 2017, a small commercial plane had been crashed into by a flying drone illegally, shortly before landing at the international airport Jean-Lesage de Québec. Mr. Garneau was described at the time of the incident, which had not been injured, as the first of its kind in Canada.

In June 2017, the minister told the Montreal Gazette that a collision between a drone and an airplane was the kind of disaster scenario that keeps him awake at night.

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