Transport Canada has announced Canada’s new drone education program, a safety campaign that foreshadows Canada’s plan to enact new drone laws.
“While Transport Canada is working on new regulations to integrate drones into Canadian airspace, I urge all users to learn how to fly safely and legally. As a responsible drone user, think twice about where you fly, stay away from airports and aircraft, and know that there are serious consequences to unsafe use. The “No Drone Zone” signs are a reminder that not all places are appropriate to fly a drone – always think safety first,” The Honourable Marc Garneau, Canada’s Minister of Transport said in a statement.
Transport Canada partnered with the Ottawa Police Service, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, the Canadian Airports Council, and the Ottawa Airport to launch the program, which closely resembles the education programs including the “Know Before You Fly” collaboration in the United States.
The “No Drone Zone” signs unveiled at the program launch will be distributed to airports and other organizations to inform drone operators where drones are out of bounds. “Transport Canada recommends that airports, parks, municipalities and event organizers post “No Drone Zone” signs around the perimeter of their property or event, when it is unsafe or illegal to fly drones,” says the agency.
“Even small drones can cause big problems for airports and aircraft. It’s important that users understand the risk associated with flying them, and learn the rules of responsible use for the safety and security of the entire community,” says Mark Laroche, President and CEO, Ottawa International Airport Authority.
Transport Canada also announced that they intend to propose new drone regulations. New regulations may involve changes to the registration process, including instituting a marking requirement; and establishing risk-based categories of drones.
The announcement comes after recent furor over a reported near collision of a drone with a passenger jet at Winnipeg airport. Daniel-Robert Gooch, President of the Canadian Airports Council, applauded the Canadian government for acting on “the rapidly growing threat that UAVs pose to commercial aircraft near airports or in restricted airspace.” Current Canadian regulations call for fines of up to $25,000 or jail time for endangering the safety of manned aircraft with a drone.