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What are Canada’s New Drone Regulations?

2017-07-17

Canada has issued a new interim drone law, relaxing regulations for recreational users.

The new law removes the restriction against flying within 75 meters of buildings, something that drone enthusiasts pointed out practically eliminated all flight within cities and heavily settled areas.  The new regulation states that drones must be operated at least 30 m away from “vehicles, vessels, and the public” if your drone weighs between 250 grams and 1 kg, and at least 75 m away from vehicles, vessels, and the public with a drone weighing between 1kg and 35 kg.

The change in wording from “buildings, vehicles or people” to “vehicles, vessels and the public” represents a significant change in the rule, as does the addition of a size-based category in the rule.

The new rule also changes the distance that drones must stay away from an airport or heliport.  While the previous law prohibited flight within 9km of any airport or heliport, the new law restricts flight within 5.5 km from aerodromes (defined as “any airport, seaplane base, or areas where aircraft take-off and land”) and within 1.8 km of heliports or aerodromes used exclusively by helicopters “outside of controlled or restricted airspace” such as a helipad on the roof of a hospital.