New rules for recreational drones

Interim Order


The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

March 16, 2017, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport introduced a measure to prevent the reckless use of drones that is putting the safety of Canadians at risk. This Interim Order regarding the use of model aircrafts, including recreational drones, is taking effect immediately and will remain in force for a maximum of one year, until the new regulation takes effect.

These new rules apply to all the small-scale model aircrafts and recreational drones with having a total weight of more than 250 grams but not more than 35 Kg. UAV used for commercial, academics or research ends are not included in these new rules since they must be subjected to the conditions of an SFOC. Also, model aircraft operated at events organized by the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC) or at airfields located in a zone administered by MAAC or a MAAC club are not concerned.


A person must not operate a model aircraft:

  • at an altitude greater than 300 feet AGL;
  • 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;
  • within 9 km of the centre of an aerodrome;
  • within controlled airspace;
  • within restricted airspace;
  • over or within a forest fire area, or any area that is located within 9 km of a forest fire area;
  • over or within the security perimeter of a police or first responder emergency operation site;
  • over or within an open-air assembly of persons;
  • at night; or
  • in cloud.

It is also forbidden to operate more than one model aircraft at a time. Moreover, the pilot must maintain is aircraft within visual line of sight and nerver further than 500 meters from his location.

Finally, no person shall operate a model aircraft, or recreational drone, unless the name, address and telephone number of the owner is clearly made visible on the aircraft.

Heavy Penalties

Any recreational operator who fails to comply with the new flying restrictions and conditions could be subject to fines of up to $3,000 for the pilot and up to $15 000 for his company.

Transports Canada encourages people witnessing illegal or dangerous drone use to call the police or any other local law enforcement agency immediately.

Source: Transport Canada