Rules and regulations

Canada issues first fine under new drone rules

A drone flies in Switzerland (photo: Gabriel Garcia Marengo).

A Toronto man has been fined $2,750 for alleged violations of the Canadian Aviation Regulations for flying a drone during the Raptors’ successful championship run this spring. It’s the first time Transport Canada has taken action under rules that came into effect in June.

The unidentified man has been charged for several breaches of the rules as fans packed Toronto streets June 13th to watch the Raptors win the National Basketball Association title, and again four days later during the team’s championship parade.

He is accused of:

  • Flying too close to people
  • Flying without a proper licence
  • Flying in an air traffic control zone
  • Flying too close to an airport
  • Not registering his drone

New rules came into effect June 1, requiring pilots of drones weighing more than 250 grams and less than 25 kilograms to register their aircraft and get a licence.

They also impose strict new rules over public events and in controlled airspace. Pilots for these operations require an Advanced Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Pilot certificate, they need special permission, must pass a test, and their drone has to be certified for the circumstances.

“Transport Canada is committed to enhancing aviation and public safety while encouraging innovation and economic growth in the drone sector,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau in a statement, “but operating a drone in Canadian airspace is a regulated activity and the department will enforce the regulations to ensure compliance. The safety of Canadians is our number one priority. Drone pilots must fly responsibly and must never put people or aircraft in danger.”

The man faces administrative penalties, which he can appeal to the Transportation Appeal Tribunal.