Canadian Rules Restrict Recreational Drones' Use

The rules say recreational drone operators must mark their drones with their contact information and may not fly higher than 90 meters (295 feet), at night, or within 75 meters of buildings, vehicles, or people.

Transport Canada issued new rules March 16 that will take effect immediately and restrict the use of recreational drones weighing more than 250 grams and up to 35 kilograms (77 pounds). Saying the number of incidents involving recreational drones has more than tripled since 2014, Marc Garneau, minister of Transport, described them as a means to prevent the reckless use of drones that is putting the safety of Canadians at risk.

He made the announcement at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport with airport, airline, and pilot representatives on hand, along with representatives of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Toronto Police Force.

"I take very seriously the increased risk to aviation safety and to people on the ground caused by drones. That is why I am proceeding with this measure which takes effect immediately—to enhance the safety of aviation and the public while we work to bring into force permanent regulations," Garneau said.

The rules say recreational drone operators must mark their drones with their contact information and may not fly:

  • higher than 90 meters (295 feet)
  • at night
  • within 75 meters of buildings, vehicles, or people
  • within 9 kilometers of the center of any airport, heliport, aerodrome, or water aerodrome where aircraft take off and land

Operators of drones for commercial, academic, or research purposes are not affected by the rules, with Transport Canada saying rules already in place for them are effective and that most commercial users operate their drones safely.

Any recreational operator who fails to comply with the new flying restrictions and conditions could be fined as much as $3,000.

For more information about the drone rules, visit www.canada.ca/drone-safety.

The rules will be in effect for up to one year and until permanent regulations are put in place.

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