The Canadian government has announced a new drone law that loosens up on the country's previous regulations on drone hobbyists.
According to the new law, drone pilots are no longer restricted from flying within 75 meters of architectural structures, people or vehicles. Whereas the previous law barred hobbyists from flying in almost every city (after , 75 meters away from ANY building left little space to fly!), the new one leaves a little more space for pilots to fly their drones. Now, pilots must keep their UAVs at a 30 meter distance from “vehicles, vessels and the public,” if they are operating a drone weighing anywhere from 350 grams to 1 kilogram. If, in the case the drone weighs more than 1 kilogram but less than 35, the drone must be flown at a distance at least 75 meters away.
The biggest change in this law is in the language it entails. Now that the ruling no longer governs “buildings, vehicles or people” but “vehicles, vessels and the public,” architecture is not something that has to be kept at an unreasonable distance. While we hope that pilots are always flying safely and responsibly, this new law opens up a lot of sky territory for Canadian drone pilots to explore.
Additionally, the updated version of the law has specific restrictions regarding drone flight near air and heliports. Whereas the former law stated that drone pilots may not flight within 9 kilometers of a port, this one has loosened up a bit. Now, pilots may not fly their drone within 5.5 kilometers of an “aerodrome”, which is outlined in the law as “any airport, seaplane base or area where aircrafts take off or land”. It also states that drone flight may not take place within 1.8 kilometers of a heliport or building used for the landing of helicopters (hospitals, etc).
The new law is in line with a trend toward freeing up airspace and creating more opportunities for the ever-growing community of drone pilots working worldwide. Canadian drone hobbyists were shocked when Transport Minister Marc Garneau established the original ruling this past March. While he was reacting to increased sightings of drones in the city, drone enthusiasts have fought back by advocating for the responsible use of UAVs in their area. We hope this new law gives all of our Canadian comrades an increased flexibility as they continue to enjoy the pleasures of drone life!
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