New rules for recreational drone use in Canada revealed – Big fines now in place

Recreational drone users in Canada face new restrictions on where and when they can fly their drones, under new rules being announced by Transportation Minister Marc Garneau in Toronto on Thursday.

The rules, which are effective immediately, will mean recreational users will face a fine of up to $3,000 if drones are caught flying:

  • Higher than 90 metres,
  • Within 75 metres of buildings, vehicles or people.
  • At night.
  • Within nine kilometres of somewhere aircraft take off or land.
  • Without contact information marked on the drone itself.
  • Over forest fires, emergency response scenes or controlled airspace.

Some of those rules existed only as guidelines before the announcement, Garneau said, with no penalties for breaking them.

Garneau pointed out that people who use drones for commercial, academic or research reasons already have to get a special certificate, and most fly them safely.

He said an overhaul of Canada’s regulations for all unmanned aircraft is coming in June, but there’s an urgent need to do something now.

“The government certainly doesn’t want to restrict drones so much that we hinder innovation, because it’s so important to our economy and standard of living,” Garneau said.

“But like any new technology, drones must be used with care. And we cannot wait for something bad to happen before we react.”