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Garneau outlines new rules, fines for drones flown too close to airports

Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced new drone regulations, March 16, 2017. CITYNEWS/James Tumelty

New federal rules limit how close drones can fly to an airport or plane.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau made the announcement at Billy Bishop Airport on Thursday.

He said the move is in response to a recent spike in the number of incidents in which recreational drones have come too close to planes.

Drones will no longer be able to fly higher than 90 metres, within 75 metres of any buildings, vehicles or people, or within nine kilometres of any airport.

This means owners can no longer fly their drones in their own yard.

The move has brought accolades from those in their aviation field

Air Transit said it “unconditionally” supports the new drone regulations.

“This is good news for all airlines, their passengers and crews, but also for the general public,” Jean-François Lemay, president of Air Transat, said in a statement.

“Drones, which are constantly increasing in number, can pose a real threat to civil aviation if they are not used responsibly. We are very pleased to see that the Minister of Transport is concerned about this issue and is acting quickly.”

Daniel-Robert Gooch, president of the Canadian Airports Council, also applauded the move.

“Canada’s airports welcome the introduction of additional safety rules for UAVs near airports,” he said. “The proliferation of UAV’s operating in airspace around airports has been frightening, and we are pleased the Government of Canada has taken concrete steps to keep Canada’s airspace safe.”

Porter Airlines said it strongly supports the order.

“Safety governs everything that we do as an airline,” Robert Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines, said in a statement. “Whatever can be done to raise awareness of safe operating principles among drone operators is a worthwhile effort.”

Drone Delivery Canada said that while the rules do not impact them directly, it will take steps to “protect Canadians from reckless drone use.”

“We really are at the cusp of an industry that holds out so much promise,” Richard Buzbuzian, president of Drone Delivery Canada, said in a statement. “I am encouraged that the government is determined to ensure that it gets things right when it comes to regulating unmanned aerial vehicles – or drones.”

The rules don’t apply to commercial, academic or research drone use.

Anyone violating the new rules could be subject to a fine of up to $3,000.

Ottawa is expected to announce new regulations for all unmanned vehicles in June.

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