There’s no question that drones are gaining more popularity, and as with any new technology that gains fast adoption, the governmental regulations are coming as well. Canada is no different and while there have been guidelines regarding drone flying, the government recently made a few changes and turned them into law. These new drone restrictions seem fairly… restrictive and petitions have already been started calling on the government to revise the new rules.
— Transport Canada (@Transport_gc) March 16, 2017
As you can see in Transport Canada’s tweet above, the fine for breaking any of the rules can be as high as $3,000. The rules apply to drones weighing more than 250g and less than 35kg. For drones within this range, recreational drone users do not need special permission from Transport Canada to fly, they simply need to follow the rules. While some of the new rules make sense, some definitely seem overly restrictive such as not being able to fly “closer than 75 m from buildings, vehicles, vessels, animals, people/crowds, etc.” — which for most users rules out flying almost anywhere.
Some urban hobbiests will be affected as well with the regulation that states you must be more than nine kilometres way from the centre of an aerodrome, in regions like the Greater Toronto Area where there are numerous airports and helipads that pretty much blanket the region.
— John Bowman (@johnbowman) March 16, 2017
When unveiling the new rules, Transportation Minister Marc Garneau cited an increase in the number of reported safety incidents which has steadily been climbing over the last three years from 41 in 2014 to 148 in 2016.
“I believe that we have to strike the right balance between encouraging the drone industry, but doing it responsibly,” Garneau said. “When it comes to safety, I don’t think anything is overkill. I have read almost on a daily basis reports from pilots coming into airports, on the flight path, and reporting seeing a drone off the wing.”
The move is, of course, welcomed by local airport authorities while RCMP Chief Superintendent Brian Stubbs stated that the new regulations simply give law enforcement more ways to deal with drone-related complaints and calls.
“These regulations will give us a [less harsh] way to manage these types of calls,” Stubbs said. “Of course discretion is a part of this as well too. Police officers have the discretion just to educate, perhaps, an operator of a drone, all the way to [using] the Criminal Code.”
Garneau further encouraged those interested in taking up recreational drone flying “to contact the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada or to find an area that is more remote” in order to abide by the new rules.