Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt has launched a public campaign to help make sure Canadians are flying drones safely.

Raitt announced new guidelines for the increasingly popular unmanned aircraft, and trumpeted the Transport Canada website, which gives operators of drones an easy-to-read list of do's and don'ts.

Online ads and a social media campaign are to follow.

Those flying drones for commercial use or using devices over 35 kilograms must apply for a special permit from the federal regulator.

Transport Canada has seen a spike in those applications, issuing 945 certificates last year — a 500 per cent jump from 2011.

Drones are being used for a range of purposes — from hobbyists to farmers surveying crops and even movie productions looking for an epic aerial shot.

Most drones range in price from a few hundred dollars for personal aircraft up to $200,000 for commercial grade units and can be operated with a controller, similar to ones used for video games, or by a tablet or an iPhone.

Transport Canada states that UAVs can not be flown higher than 90 metres, to limit safety concerns with other aircraft, and are required to be within the line of sight of the pilot or someone who is in contact with a pilot.