New restrictions on recreational drone use in Canada

New restrictions on recreational drone use in Canada

New restrictions on recreational drone use in Canada

Unmanned Systems Canada has released the following statement in regards to Minister Marc Garneau's announcement about the new Interim Order, which provides safety rules for recreational drone use.

The number of drone incidents that involve recreational drones has more than tripled since 2014.

The new rules force recreational drone operators to mark their drone with up-to-date contact information and mean they may not fly the drone at night; any higher than 90 metres; within seven metres of buildings, cars or people; or within nine kilometres of the centre of any airport, heliport, aerodrome or water aerodrome where aircraft take off and land.

Drone operators now can not fly at night, higher than 90 metres, within 9 kilometres of a forest fire, within 75 metres of buildings, vehicles or people and or within nine kilometres of the centre or any airport, helicopter, aerodrome or water aerodrome where aircrafts take off and land.

Any individual violating the new rules could be subject to a fine of up to $3,000, and up to $15,000 for corporations.

Drones being used for commercial, academic, or research purposes will not be affected by these new rules.

Canada's new rules are more restrictive than USA recreational drone regulations, which allow for flying up to 400 feet, don't have a set distance restriction for flying near buildings and allow for recreational flying at night.

Garneau says recreational drones must stay away from restricted airspace, active forest fires and any site where first responders are tending to an emergency.

"Up to now we have had the do's and don'ts for recreational drone use, but they were only guidelines and there were no penalties for ignoring them", said Garneau.

The new regulations are already causing concern among those who operate drones commercially in Canada.

People who want to fly a drone should follow rules, just as pilots do when operating a plane, Garneau said.

Transport Canada deserves credit for having taken this initial step to curb recreational drone use, which constitutes a hazard to aviation.

When questioned on the limitations the new regulations impose, Garneau said he is "sending a very strong message".

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