DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, expressed disappointment Monday with draft regulations for the recreational and commercial use of drones published over the weekend by Transport Canada, and urged drone users to submit comments as part of the government’s consultation before the rules are finalized.
While DJI is pleased some operating restrictions from earlier Interim Orders have been eased, the draft rules as written would significantly limit safe and responsible drone use. The rules would also make it harder for Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs to develop new ways to use drones in business, education, agriculture and public safety, leaving Canada to fall behind in realizing the benefits of drones.
The draft regulations make no distinction between recreational and commercial operations, meaning Canadians who simply want to see their homes from above would have to follow the same strict standards as large businesses with fleets of drones.
“We are disappointed that Transport Canada has taken an overly restrictive approach for its new proposed drone rules,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs. “Strong restrictions placed on drones in built-up areas – essentially all locations where people live – overlook the benefits drones can provide to cities and will result in millions of Canadians not having the opportunity to realize the full potential of this emerging technology.”
Schulman pointed to several problems with the draft regulations, including:
A mandatory $100,000 insurance requirement for any drone that weighs more than 250 grams – less than the weight of two hockey pucks – which will discourage schools, students and hobbyists from experimenting with drones in science, engineering or photography.
A requirement that drones cannot be flown within 100 feet of people, which would instantly make it illegal for millions of Canadians to fly a small drone in their own backyards.
A burdensome requirement for manufacturers to certify their products to still-undefined standards before performing certain professional operations in Canada, even though the same products have been allowed to perform the same operations in the United States for the past year.
DJI plans to submit detailed comments as part of the government’s consultation on these draft regulations and encourages drone users to do likewise. Comments must be submitted by Oct. 13, 2017 to the address at this link.
“An ideal regulatory regime would adequately mitigate the risk of injury and property damage while allowing innovators the freedom to experiment and to use drones with minimal burdens or barriers to entry,” said Eric Ebenstein, DJI Head of North America Public Policy. “We look forward to providing feedback to suggest ways that these draft regulations can be turned into a set of rules that protect the public while encouraging innovation.”