New rules for the recreational use of drones in Canada were announced by Transport Minister Marc Garneau on Thursday.
The number of incidents involving recreational drones has more than tripled since 2014, according to Transport Canada.
The changes immediately apply to model aircraft and drones that weigh between 250g and 35kg.
“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,” said Minister Marc Garneau, alongside members of the RCMP and Toronto Police at the Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto.
Recreational operators are now required to mark their drones with their contact information, and are not allowed to fly:
- higher than 90m;
- at night;
- within 75m of buildings, vehicles or people; or
- within 9km of the centre of any airport, heliport, aerodrome or water aerodrome where aircraft take off and land. (click here for an infographic explaining rules.)
Transport Canada says the new rules will be in effect for up to one year, until permanent regulations mentioned by Garneau are put in place. The changes also enable enforcement to begin immediately, with fines of up to $3,000 for violations.
The rules do not apply for commercial, academic or research purposes. Transport Canada says the rules that are already in place for commercial users are effective in ensuring most users operate their drones safely.