It appears that the people of Quebec really like to fly their drones without a license. Over the past year, 12 fines have been handed out in Canada for illegal drone flying, and all of them were in Quebec. Considering the fines can reach $25,000, this seems to be a pretty expensive hobby! But there is more to the story as well. Apparently, there has been 69 accidents related to drones, and 36 of those happened in Quebec.
Do We Need More Drone Flying Permits?
Recreational drone flying in Canada does not require a permit. However, there are a set of rules published by Transport Canada, and these have to be followed properly. This includes staying outside of residential areas and airports.
Drone users are asked to make sure they respect the privacy of others. To do so, they may only fly their drones during the day. This means that they should always be visible.
Commercial drone flyers do need a special permit. This is done through a flight operating certificate. Some 127 of these certificates have been handed out in Quebec last year. This is a very small amount, when compared to Ontario. There, 734 certificates were issued over the same time period. Nationally, some 1,672 permits were issued. This means that less than 10% are issued in Quebec, which seems odd.
Fines For Flying Drones Illegally
If you should have a SFOC permit and you do not have one, and you are an individual, you could be fined $5,000. If you are a business, the fine could be $25,000. If you do not follow the conditions of your SFOC as an individual, you could face a fine of $3,000. Businesses could be fined as much as $15,000.
There has been a few interesting cases of fines. For instance, Julien Gramigna, Quebec videographer, attached a camera to his drone and filmed a property. He then sold these images to a real estate agent. He was fined $1,000. As a result of this, he claims to have lost out on job opportunities. He is frequently asked to take aerial views of properties that someone is considering buying, but he is now no longer able to take these shots, even though it seems a completely legitimate reason. If he still wants to take these types of images, he needs to receive written authorization from Transport Canada. This is a lengthy process that can take weeks to complete. At the minute, he is awaiting eight requests.