Transport Canada (TC) has announced the formation of CanaDAC – where those last three letters stand for Drone Advisory Committee. The committee will serve “as a national forum for industry stakeholders to inform priority policy and regulatory areas of focus for TC.” Let’s see what it’s about.

As use-case scenarios for drones grow, regulators in various countries want to ensure they’ve got their fingers on the pulse of the industry. Understanding the needs of those working in the sector helps to ensure that regulations and priorities can always help innovation and commerce flourish, while also ensuring the continued safety of our increasingly congested air space.

And now, Canada has a new body that will work closely with TC.

CanaDAC

The new body brings together up to 35 of the industry’s thought leaders, and for several purposes. Here’s how TC describes CanaDAC’s role with Transport Canada going forward. An announcement says it will enable TC and the industry to:

  • Engage in meaningful dialogue in order to support a better shared understanding of future industry needs, directions, and constraints. 
  • Identify emerging areas of innovation, discuss key challenges, issues and opportunities, and examine the economic, environmental and social impacts of RPAS for the Canadian industry and broader public.
  • Support the development of future RPAS policy and planning by TC.

Mandate and scope

A Terms of Reference document lays out the scope of CanaDAC. It includes the term RPAS, which stands for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems:

The overall mandate of the CanaDAC will be to bring together stakeholders from industry, government, academia and other key areas to encourage innovation and growth of the industry in Canada through contributions to Transport Canada policy development and strategic direction-setting. The group will also help to identify and address RPAS-related issues and challenges.

The committee will meet online for three half-day sessions annually over a two-year period (with the possibility that will continue beyond the two-year period). The scope includes touching on these key points:

  • Anticipated technological innovation in the next 5-10 years.
  • New business cases for drone use and the impact on traditional commercial models, the aviation industry, and Canadian society more broadly.
  • Development of a policy and a regulatory framework for a technology that is rapidly evolving and disruptive in nature.
  • Social implications as the technology continues to evolve, such as concerns around public acceptance, and the privacy of Canadians.
  • Opportunities and impacts of RPAS on distinct groups and communities, such as women and Indigenous persons in Canada.

Who’s taking part?

Well, the list of CanaDAC members reads kind of like a “Who’s Who” of the Canadian RPAS industry. We’re familiar with many of the names on the list, including Philip Reece, president and CEO of InDro Robotics, which is the first RPAS company in Canada to receive a Canadian Transport Agency license to carry commercial cargo by drone. The company has also been recognized as an industry leader by Unmanned Systems Canada.

But there are many others who’ve been pushing the envelope, including First Responders. Mike Nolan, the chief of paramedic service and director of emergency services with Renfrew Paramedics, is also on the list, as is a representative of one of the country’s largest mobile carriers – significant, as many future BVLOS operations will likely operate using the 5G network. The Chair of Unmanned Systems Canada, Systèmes Télécommandés Canada, Michael Cohen, is also on board.

You can see the full list of members here:

A great idea

There are a ton of innovators on the Committee, and we think this is a super way for TC to have regular, informed input from a wide variety of stakeholders. The first meeting will take place later this month; we look forward to hearing how things progress.

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