Canada Makes it Harder To Fly Drones

Canada announced new rules this morning heavily curtailing the use of recreational drones. The Canadian Transportation Minister Marc Garneau explained the new rules are allowable under Canada’s

Aeronautical Act, which allows him to take action “when there is a significant risk to aviation.” This appears to be a reference to increased incidents of sighting and near-misses of drones near Canadian airports.

According to CBC news the new rules don’t allow flight:

  • Higher than 90 meters (300 feet).
  • Within 75 meters (246 feet) of buildings, vehicles, vessels, animals or people.
  • More than 500 meters (1,640 feet) away from the user.
  • At night, in clouds or somewhere you can’t see it.
  • Within nine kilometers (5.6 miles) of somewhere aircraft take off or land, or a forest fire.
  • Without your name, address and phone number marked on the drone itself.
  • Over forest fires, emergency response scenes or controlled airspace.

It should be noted that these new rules don’t apply to people flying at sites and events sanctioned by the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada.

At the press conference to announce the rules Garneau said “I believe that we have to strike the right balance between encouraging the drone industry, but doing it responsibly.”

Those found violating the law face a fine up to $3,000 Canadian Dollar ($2,248 USD). The new regulations were instituted on a interim basis as Canada plans to change its formal laws for unmanned aircraft this June. However, these interim rules don’t paint a very rosy picture for those hoping for less restrictive regulations.

Over social media, many noted that the rule that forbids flying withing 246 feet of a building effectively outlaws recreational drone flying in all Canadian cities. The new rules are also much harsher than American ones that allow flight up to 400 feet, and at any distance, as long as you maintain a visual line-of-sight.

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