Many hand-held lasers are now prohibited

August 23, 2018

not-a-bright-idea

Many hand-held lasers are now prohibited

Aiming a laser at an aircraft is not a bright idea. It’s a federal offence. Laser attacks can temporarily blind the pilot, putting all the people on board the aircraft at serious risk. In 2017, there were nearly 400 reported laser strikes on aircraft in Canada.

With some exceptions, it is now illegal to possess a hand-held laser over 1 milliwatt (mW) in public areas within:

  • municipalities within the greater Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver regions
  • a 10-kilometre radius of any airport and certified heliports

You cannot possess a hand-held laser over 1 mW outside of a private dwelling within:

  • municipalities within the greater Montréal, Toronto or Vancouver regions
  • a 10-kilometre radius of an airport and certified heliports

You may possess a hand-held laser anywhere in Canada for any of the following reasons:

  • The laser has 1 mW of power or less
  • You are in possession of the laser for a legitimate purpose, such as for work, school or educational purposes
  • You are a member of an astronomy society and are in possession of the laser for that purpose

Lasers affected by the safety measure

The safety measure affects battery-powered hand-held lasers of over 1 mW in power. These lasers may look like pens or flashlights. Often, people use them when giving a lecture or presentation.

The higher the number of milliwatts (mW), the more powerful the laser.

Learn more about how lasers are classified and their power output

Explore the interactive map

Use the map to learn where the new safety measure is in effect. If you plan on using your laser outside, such as in a park, be sure to check out the map before you go.

Map: Where hand-held lasers over 1 milliwatt are prohibited

More information is available at the Transport Canada website.