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Transport Canada Regulations Limit Model Aviation Activities


Rodger Williams, President:   418 564-5225

March 16, 2017
Burlington, ON

For Immediate Release

Transport Canada Regulations Limit Model Aviation Activities

Transport Canada’s announcement of interim regulations for drone use will impact model aviation enthusiasts across the country that are flying any model aircraft between 250g and 35kg. The regulations place restrictions on how high model aircraft can be flown, and minimum distances from people and buildings when flying that will severely limit how and where people can enjoy the hobby. The announcement states that not only must recreational users put their contact information on drones, but also that they may not fly higher than 90 metres, within 150 metres of buildings, vehicles or people, or within 9 kilometres of the centre of any aerodrome.

However, within the regulations is an exemption for Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC) Members flying at MAAC sanction fields and/or events. The exemption granted to MAAC members and sanctioned events is crucial to the continued operation of hundreds of clubs across the country.

The Transport Canada Advisory group of MAAC and the Board of Directors on behalf of The Model Aeronautics Association of Canada acknowledges Transport Canada's safety concerns and is appreciative for the clear recognition of the long history of safe operations by our membership. One of MAAC’s primary goals is keeping our members informed and educated on how to enjoy the hobby while keeping safety in the forefront, and that effort has paid off with this exemption.

One of the results of the regulations will be a surge of people looking to find a home within MAAC and MAAC member clubs. If we want this exemption to continue, it is crucial these new members be made to feel welcome and that they are educated on safe model operations. MAAC encourages members, clubs, and club executives to welcome these new members and/or actively assist them in forming their own interest specific clubs.

The interim regulations also call for active enforcement by local police forces, which may create issues for some members and clubs. MAAC recommends clubs contact their local authorities and ensure they are aware of the club’s existence, MAAC affiliation, and the Transport Canada exemption.

About The Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC):
MAAC is Canada’s internationally and federally recognized model aviation sanctioning body. Additionally, MAAC is a sitting member of Canadian Aviation Regulatory Advisory Council (CARAC), holds corporate membership with Unmanned Systems Canada (USC) and is a voting member of the FAI and the Aero Club of Canada.

For over 65 years the association has provided leadership, safety guidelines, and liability insurance to individual members, clubs, and field owners. MAAC serves over 11,500 members and more than 350 clubs across Canada. MAAC members are active in all disciplines of model aviation from free-flight models through radio controlled turbine powered models, including multi-rotor aircraft RC boating and rocketry.

For more information contact your zone director, the MAAC Office ( or
Rodger Williams, President:   418 564-5225

New Drone regulations March 2017

Recreational drone users in Canada face new restrictions on where and when they can fly their remote-controlled devices, under new rules being announced today by Transportation Minister Marc Garneau.
The rules, which are effective immediately, mean recreational users will face a fine of up to $3,000 if drones weighing more than 250 grams are caught flying:

  • Higher than 90 metres.
  • Within 75 metres of buildings, vehicles, vessels, animals or people.
  • More than 500 metres away from the user.
  • At night, in clouds or somewhere you can't see it.
  • Within nine kilometres of somewhere aircraft take off or land, or a forest fire.
  • Without your name, address and phone number marked on the drone itself.
  • Over forest fires, emergency response scenes or controlled airspace.
  • Some of those rules existed only as guidelines before the announcement, Garneau said, with no specific penalties for breaking them.
RCMP Chief Supt. Brian Stubbs said at the announcement at Toronto's downtown Billy Bishop Airport that police could really only penalize someone using a drone dangerously if they broke a section of the Criminal Code, such as criminal negligence or mischief.

"These regulations will give us a [less harsh] way to manage these types of calls," he said.

"Of course discretion is a part of this as well too. Police officers have the discretion just to educate, perhaps, an operator of a drone, all the way to [using] the Criminal Code."

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

The new rules do not apply to people flying at sites and events sanctioned by the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada, a national model aircraft association Garneau said has an excellent safety record.

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