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Canada takes action against laser attacks

Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, on June 28, 2018, announced a new measure that prohibits the possession of battery-operated handheld laser over 1 milliwatt (mW) outside of a private dwelling without a legitimate purpose, such as for work, school, or education purposes. In 2017, Transport Canada received 379 reports of laser attacks in Canadian airspace. From January 1 to April 30, 2018, there have been 63 reported laser attacks.


July 3, 2018
By Wings Staff

“I take very seriously the increased risk to aviation safety and to people on the ground caused by lasers,” said Garneau. “That is why I am proceeding with these new safety measures which take effect immediately – to enhance the safety of aviation and the public while we work to bring into force permanent regulations.”

This Interim Order takes effect immediately and applies to municipalities within the greater Montréal, Toronto, and Vancouver regions, as well as a 10-kilometre radius around any airport or certified heliport across Canada.

The new measure allows Transport Canada and delegated law enforcement to issue fines on the spot to anyone who possesses a handheld laser within a prohibited zone without a legitimate reason. The maximum fines are $5,000 for an individual and $25,000 for a corporation. Anyone convicted of an intentional laser attack on an aircraft could also face up to $100,000 in fines, five years in prison or both.

In addition to the Interim Order, Transport Canada is also designating laser attacks on aircraft as offences subject to immediate fines under the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

“We commend the Federal government on the Interim Order, and look forward to seeing the positive benefits that will come about through proposed amendments to existing regulations, along with increased education and awareness, and the implementation of additional tools for law enforcement and Transport Canada inspectors,” said Captain Dan Adamus, President, Air Line Pilots Association Canada.