Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau has introduced new safety rules that will govern the use of recreational drones around airports and other high-risk areas.

The new measures aim to protect Canadians and prevent the irresponsible or malicious use of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones near airports and aircraft, causing safety and security risks.

Garneau said: “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.”

Intended to enforce immediate compliance, the new measures will be effective for a period of up to one year until permanent regulations are in place.

Under the new rules, recreational drone users are required to mark their device with their contact information and may not fly higher than 90m, at night or within 75m of buildings, vehicles or people.

In addition, users may not fly their drones within 9km of the centre of any airport, heliport, aerodrome or water aerodrome where aircraft take off and land.

Non-compliance with the rules could result in fines of up to $3,000.

In 2015, Transport Canada reported 85 incidents that involved UAVs, while the number of such incidents more than tripled from 41 in 2014 to 148 last year.

“The introduction of this temporary order will help protect airspace users and the travelling public."

Welcoming Canada’s new safety rules, International Air Transport Association (IATA) Air Traffic Management and Infrastructure director Rob Eagles said: “The introduction of this temporary order will help protect airspace users and the travelling public.

“It is particularly important to draw attention to the key role that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and local law enforcement agencies play in addressing the obvious safety risk posed by the reckless operation of UAVs.

“Looking ahead, advanced technology will provide new ways to appropriately regulate recreational, commercial and state UAV operations. Transport Canada plays a critical role in helping to develop these standards and regulations.”

The new rules will not affect operators of drones for commercial, academic or research purposes.


Image: The Government of Canada implements new Interim Order to restrict unauthorised use of UAVs near airport or aircraft. Photo: courtesy of IATA.