One of the biggest gotchas with the existing regulations for both recreational & commercial drone use in Canada is enforcement, or better said lack there of.
Transport Canada staff are already stretched thin and it really has become a case of going after offenders after the fact when an incident happens. As such many have gamed the system flying outside the laws to their advantage with little worry of getting caught.
Transport Canada hopes to better address this with the new regulations.
Transport Canada would authorize external law enforcement agencies pursuant to section 4.3 of the Aeronautics Act to issue administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) for designated offences to complement enforcement actions by Transport Canada inspectorate. Such an approach would be consistent with and complement Transport Canada’s enforcement program.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) would be first granted authorization to administer AMPs for non-compliance. The Department may also pursue similar partnerships with provinces, territories and municipalities, including bylaw officers, if UAV-related incidents continue to increase and additional enforcement capacity is required.
Following the coming into force of the Regulations, Transport Canada would conduct a concentrated enforcement campaign in areas where reports of unmanned aircraft incidents are at the highest frequency. Through this campaign, the Department would seek to educate users on their legal responsibilities, while also taking enforcement action should non-compliance be identified. This could range from verbal warnings to the issuance of administrative monetary penalties.
In addition to the enforcement strategy, Transport Canada would continue to actively conduct an education and outreach campaign to improve compliance. The Department would continue to build upon the “Safety First” web page, created in 2015, to provide tools for Canadians and to increase awareness of the risks associated with flying a UAV. The Department would work with the retail Council of Canada and point-of-sale retailers to provide consumers with information and to promote safety practices.
These proposed amendments would be enforced through the assessment of AMPs imposed under sections 7.6 to 8.2 of the Aeronautics Act, which carry a maximum fine of $3,000 for individuals and $25,000 for corporations, through suspension or cancellation of a Canadian aviation document, or through judicial action introduced by way of summary conviction, as per section 7.3 of the Aeronautics Act.
End of the day the proof will be in the enforcement pudding. How much actual real world enforcement we will see and how much priority RCMP gives it is a major concern. We have our doubt much if anything will change from the free for all that currently exists. New regulations are great but with no teeth they will mean little to some.