Canada’s Emerging Domestic Drone Regulations

Shayna Gersher
Carleton University, Canada

Drones offer many possible benefits to society, but they also introduce potential dangers to civil liberties and pose privacy concerns. To understand how drones potentially infringe upon Canadian social values requires an understanding of the environment from which they are emerging. This presentation will address the environment of concern and speak to the current drone regulatory framework underway in Canada. As of November 2012, Transport Canada and its regulatory body – the Canadian Aviation Regulatory Committee – approved phase one of four in its domestic drone regulatory framework. The focus of phase one is on small remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) that have a take-off weight of 25 kg or less and operate within the visual line of sight and under visual flight rules. Two troubling issues arise with Transport Canada’s domestic drone regulations. The first issue deals with regulatory policy that privileges representatives from the drone industry, police and defence agencies; while the second issue concerns the exclusion of certain classes of drones from regulation. These findings strongly suggest that Canada's domestic drone regulations strengthen the authority of the state and market and set a precedent for drone integration into security operations that could jeopardize liberal rights and freedoms.

civil liberties