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Canada effectively bans drones in cities

© Bruce Bennett/Getty Image

For many people in cities, drones have become a privacy issue; there have been many complaints about them buzzing around houses and apartments. In St. John’s, Newfoundland there have even been complaints about “stalker drones” following women and peeking in their windows. At our house in Toronto, the neighbour directly behind us has a drone that is often flying around our backyards. My wife is angry and thinks this should be banned; I responded that this was probably our future, that we should get used to it and buy drapes.

Marc Garneau dressed for work/Public Domain

Kelly can relax now; drones have effectively been banned in cities in Canada thanks to draconian restrictions that have just been imposed by Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau. He knows a bit about flying things; he was the first Canadian in space and flew three shuttle missions, and then ran the Canadian Space Agency. So the fact that he would clamp down on flying things is a bit of a surprise. Garneau explains to CTV:

"The majority of these recreational users are new and inexperienced," Garneau said at a news conference in Toronto, at Billy Bishop Airport. "I’m sure they want to do the right thing, but they may not understand the potential safety risks of operating a drone." Garneau says he is imposing the new measures under the Aeronautical Act, which allows him to take action "when there is a significant risk to aviation."

The new rules make it illegal to fly a drone within 246 feet (metric dimensions in poster below) of buildings, animals, people or crowds; depending on how you define an animal, that would just about ban them from everywhere but the North Pole. They cannot fly at night, in clouds, more than 1640 feet from the operator and within 5.6 miles of any airport or heliport, which knocks out a lot of countryside too.

The Minister says that it’s all about safety, but drones also were yet another urban annoyance and were bothering a lot of people. They won’t be missed by most city dwellers.

Ministry of Transport/Public Domain