17 MAR 2017:  Transportation Minister Marc Garneau has announced new restrictions for recreational drone use in Canada effective immediately, and with new penalties for breaching the rules.Garneau said that his worst fear is a collision between a drone and an aircraft, "That's the kind of nightmare scenario that keeps me awake at night as your transport minister," he said at Toronto's Billy Bishop airport.

Thursday’s announcement identifies situations where recreational drone users will face penalties of up to $3,000 for individuals and up to $15,000 for corporations if drones weighing more than 250 grams are discovered:

•    Above 90 metres (295 feet) in the air.
•    Within 75 metres (245 feet) of buildings, vehicles, vessels, animals or people.
•    More than 500 metres (546 yards) away from the user.
•    At night, in clouds or somewhere you can't see it (fog).
•    Within nine kilometres (5.6 miles) of somewhere aircraft take off or land, or a forest fire.
•    Without owner’s name, address and phone number marked on the drone itself.
•    Over forest fires, emergency response scenes or controlled airspace.
•    In an open-air area where people are gathered.

Some of the rules are not new, but the penalties are. The new rules do not apply to people flying at sites and events sanctioned by the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada.

Garneau suggested that the safest place to use a drone is in a remote location, and if there is question as to the suitability of an area, drone users are asked to contact the Model (Aeronautics) Association of Canada.

Transport Canada says anyone who sees someone flying a drone illegally should call 911.

Airport authorities, airlines and The Canadian Airport Council have applauded the action.

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

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