With the recent discussions around enforcement of UAV regulations we reached out to our contacts at Transport Canada for clarification around the process in place for dealing with issues that are presented to them on possible violations. The following provides a summary of the feedback we received.
The following page gives an overview of the TC enforcement policy: About Aviation Enforcement
This policy outlines the mandate and objective of TC’s Aviation Enforcement branch. For many UAV occurrences the following will likely be used:
If the violation is minor in nature and inadvertent, or is a safety related violation where there is no direct flight safety hazard, the inspector may simply counsel the individual orally. When a TC inspector observes or is apprised of a possible violation for which Oral Counseling is inappropriate, the inspector should completes a Detection Notice form as the first step in the initial enforcement process, and forward the Detection Notice to the respective Regional Aviation Enforcement Office. The Regional Manager of Aviation Enforcement (RMAE) will review all reports and establish priorities for initiating a comprehensive investigation into alleged violations, depending on the seriousness of the violation and its impact on aviation safety.
When a case gets forwarded to enforcement, an investigation takes place and appropriate action will be taken based on the evidence presented and whether the violation was minor and inadvertent or intentional. This process from start to finish can take time. If, based on a balance of probabilities, there is sufficient evidence to support intent and prove the violation, a monetary penalty may be applied. In these cases, the information then becomes public and is posted on the aviation enforcement page.
For example, the following was posted under the non-corporate offenders list in March, 2015:
Quebec May 5, 2014 CAR 602.41
$650 monetary penalty
An individual operated an unmanned aviation vehicle (UAV) in a commercial manner without obtaining a special flight operations certificate or an air operator certificate. The individual was sanctioned with a $650.00 monetary penalty.
The Transport Canada offenders lists can be accessed here:
There can be many UAV enforcement files that are mid investigation, however the information will not become public until proven. For those matters where oral counseling is used, they won’t become public. So although there is a perception of lack of enforcement, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening.
With respect to matters that imminently affect aviation safety, the police may be the proper authorities to contact as they have the mandate and ability to respond immediately.
A police authority acting in the scope of their duties, may, pursuant to the Criminal Code of Canada arrest any person found in contravention of the Canadian Aviation Regulations or may arrest any person that has committed, is found committing or about to commit an offence under the Aeronautics Act or the Criminal Code of Canada.
Where appropriate, TC encourages law enforcement to collect evidence, investigate and contact Transport Canada.
We thank all involved for this information as it provides a great insight into the process and steps that take place when dealing with these issues.