Time for a follow-up on a couple of 2019 columns. 

Most recently we have the Huawei case. Although there is nothing substantial to add to this recent column, we have learned that the SD Association, an industry group that sanctions the use of the popular SD and microSD storage cards, has reversed its earlier decision to expel Huawei.

In practical terms the development has little immediate impact as current Huawei superphones do not use the devices in any case.

Politically, the Huawei case remains red hot. The Canadian government has yet to make a definitive decision on the deployment of 5G networks using Huawei technology. Companies such as Telus and Bell have invested billions of dollars in work with Huawei.

For its part, the Chinese company insists it is continuing its work toward a 5G rollout in Canada. It continues to work with universities across the country. It is also proceeding with rollouts in small communities, ostensibly testing new equipment. One such test will see high-speed Internet service come to the small B.C. community of Lac La Hache.

Meanwhile, there is no end in sight to the extradition proceedings against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Unless the U.S. withdraws its arrest and transfer request, perhaps as part of a Donald Trump-Xi JinPing trade deal, look for this aspect of the Huawei conflict to drag on at least another year. And for the prominent cases of two Canadians detained in China to remain indeterminate.

Huawei, in an attempt to stave off a potential 5G block, will continue to ratchet up its PR campaign, both here in Canada and through media junkets to its technology centres in China.


Back in March we covered new regulations for the operation of drones in Canada. These rules are now in effect. NAV Canada, which operates air traffic control facilities across the country, and which administers special exemptions for certain drone operations, has a fine summary of the new rules on its website. 

Here are the key points once again. 

  • Drones must be registered and marked
  • Drone pilot certificates are now mandatory
  • There are now two certificate types: basic and advanced
  • Special flight rules certificate required for flights outside the rules
  • Flights in controlled airspace require authorization from NAV Canada
  • There are age restrictions (14 for basic, 16 for advanced) for drone operations
  • Drones must remain within eyesight and below 122 m
  • Serious penalties are in place for drone operations deemed a risk to people or aircraft.

In an interview with The B.C. Catholic, NAV Canada spokesman Ron Singer said the agency is generally pleased with the new regulations and the process used to develop them. He also noted NAV Canada appreciates the importance of the quick response needed by private industry to conduct business (involving drones and exemption certificates), and that it will strive to meet those demands, sometimes in a matter of hours without, of course, jeopardizing flight safety.

Perhaps of most interest is the map that the government has made available through the National Research Council to show where drone operations are not permitted, or where there are certain restrictions on drone operations. 

A map of much of the Lower Mainland accompanies this column. Some will no doubt be surprised to see that all of Vancouver City and most of Richmond is a no-go zone for drones. So are significant additional areas of the region.

An interactive map shows where drones can be flown and where they cannot (red circle areas). (National Research Council Canada)

The online version of the map covers the entire country. It is interactive, providing additional information for each restricted zone. For more information visit Transport Canada’s Drone Safety website

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