Federal regulators licensed a commercial drone operator for the second time in Canadian history.
"To the best of our knowledge, we believe we are the first publicly traded Canadian drone delivery solutions company with a Canadian Transportation Agency license," said Nelson Hudes, spokesperson for Drone Delivery Canada Corp. of Vaughan, Ontario. According to Blacklocks, a private British Columbia firm, Indro Robotics Inc. of Salt Spring Island, received the first license last October 26. Both companies are limited to short-haul cargo flights.
Drone Delivery’s Hudes said the company fleet includes drones capable of 200-kilometre flights with 400 pounds of cargo. The one-year license permits the company to fly between courier warehouses at Nisku, Alberta. and the nearby Edmonton airport, an eight-kilometre distance. "This is the first drone delivery project at a large-scale international airport in Canada," the company said in a statement.=
The licensing follows a Department of Transport report last May 25 that drone traffic control systems were needed to manage flights. "The small size of drones, the lower levels at which they fly, and the urban environments in which they would like to operate combined with their ability to take off and land anywhere are all factors requiring a re-think of how our airspace is managed," said the report Drone Strategy To 2025, adding that a Drone Act may be necessary to regulate traffic. "We need to assess whether a distinct economic framework is needed for drones," wrote staff.
"Drones are profoundly transforming the transportation sector," wrote Nicholas Robinson, the department’s director general of civil aviation. Robinson called the report the "first of its kind in Canada." The report noted that "Drones are here to stay," predicting remote-controlled devices as a part of a "futuristic society" where "drones can be used to collect data in areas such as monitoring wildlife, surveying pipelines, search and rescue missions, and delivering goods to remote areas."
Federal agencies to date have used drones to monitor for oil spills, examine ice conditions during the Atlantic seal hunt, watch for illegal immigrants along the Canada-U.S. border, and monitor illegal drug drops in prison yards.
The transport department counted 53,000 registered drones nationwide. "The implications of drone use are potentially far-reaching," the Library of Parliament wrote in a 2018 report, Drone Use In Canada. The drone industry "is expanding rapidly in both scale and scope and presents new opportunities to individuals, businesses and governments alike," wrote analysts.