canada drone aerial

Canada eases formerly strict rules on hobby drone use

The drone industry can breathe a sigh of relief: Canada has eased its rules around recreational drone use.

Canada in March released a new set of rules for recreational drone users, which would have prevented drones from flying higher than 90 meters (295 feet), at night, within 75 meters (246 feet) of buildings, vehicles or people and within 9 kilometers  (5.6 miles) from airports. The rules had caused outrage among many drone users, who feared they wouldn’t be able to use their drones for the reasons they bought them.

It prevented drones from flying in places like parks, where people might be within 246, or over piers and parking lots, places where drones have commonly shot images.

The rules apply to drones weighing over 250 g and up to 35 kg.

DJI, the world’s largest drone manufacturer, said in a prepared statement that the rules “had effectively barred drones from flying in most settled parts of Canada.”

But Transport Canada has since revised those Canadian drone rules that heavily restricted hobby drone flight. See all the revisions here.

The biggest changes to the rules now prevent drones from flying 30 meters (98 feet) from vehicles, vessels, and the public, down from the 75 meters in the past regulations. For context, the distance between bases on a baseball diamond is 90 feet.

And the community is welcoming the news.

“The new Interim Order replaces an earlier version that put unreasonable restrictions on safe and responsible drone use across Canada,” according to DJI. “The changes come after more than 2,000 drone advocates across Canada sent thousands of messages urging Transport Canada to improve the Interim Order, making clear that their voices have been heard.”

The changes to the regulations also reduces the distance drones can fly from aerodromes from 9 kilometers to 5.5 kilometers (3.5 miles).

Canada also requires that drones be marked with the user’s name, address and telephone number.

“The extremely restrictive rules in the original Order prohibited a wide range of perfectly safe activities that are permitted by many other jurisdictions worldwide,”said Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs. “The new version delivers some improvements. We commend the government for taking this step while working on permanent rules.”


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