New Canadian Recreational Drone Rules

Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced new recreational drone regulations that will basically turn the previous #nodronezone guidelines into actual enforceable laws.

The rules, which are effective immediately, will mean recreational users will face a fine of up to $3,000.

(5) (1) A person must not operate a model aircraft

  1. (a) at an altitude greater than 300 feet AGL;
  2. (b) at a lateral distance of less than 250 feet (75m) from buildings, structures, vehicles, vessels, animals and the public including spectators, bystanders or any person not associated with the operation of the aircraft;
  3. (c) within 9 km of the centre of an aerodrome;
  4. (d) within controlled airspace;
  5. (e) within restricted airspace;
  6. (f) over or within a forest fire area, or any area that is located within 9 km of a forest fire area;
  7. (g) over or within the security perimeter of a police or first responder emergency operation site;
  8. (h) over or within an open-air assembly of persons;
  9. (i) at night; or
  10. (j) in cloud.

6 A person operating a model aircraft must give way to manned aircraft at all times.

7 (1) A person operating a model aircraft must ensure that it is operated within VLOS at all times during the flight.

(2) No person shall operate a model aircraft when the aircraft is at a lateral distance of more than 1640 feet (500 m) from the person’s location

8 The owner of a model aircraft shall not operate or permit a person to operate the aircraft unless the name, address and telephone number of the owner is clearly made visible on the aircraft.

The restrictions apply to drones weighting more than 250g up to 35kg.

RCMP & police will be working with Transport Canada inspectors to enforce the new rules.

Members of the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC) in good standing who operate at MAAC sanctioned fields or events are not subject to these rules.

Infographic on new rules:

Full Interim Order can be found here:

For a sense of the areas impacted, you can use the NRC UAV Site Selection Tool website:

We will be updating this article as the full information is announced.


  1. Another fine example of knee jerk reaction. I applied for a SFOC due to the fact my UAV is not visible beyond 150 meters, yet I fly it regularly about 5 – 7 kilometers away from me. I was told, the rule does not apply to me and I don’t need a SFOC. I just need to avoid large crowds and flying too close to buildings. I was told they would send me the exclusion information. I am still waiting two months later.
    Even when you try to follow the rules, they can’t seem to understand what they are asking for. Can’t wait for the first court case to point out the completely obscure and inconsistent rules. Is this about air safety, taxes, privacy or another dose of competing interest and those with money won the battle before it began.
    Just so you understand, most DJI UAV’s are intended to fly well beyond visual line of sight. It is a normal feature of non-toy class UAV’s. Those of us that like to capture nature on display (waterfalls, icebergs, ocean cliffs) are rarely able to see an object the size of bird at distance. We are monitoring the flight via electronic display in real-time. These rules are burdensome and obscure in purpose.


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