January 10, 2019

Ottawa Releases New Drone Regulations


Another week and again drones are in the news.

Coming on the heels of another shutdown of a major international airport due to invasive drone activity on Tuesday of this week, Transport Canada (TC) has finally released its long-awaited regulations of drones and their pilots.

The new regulations come into effect on June 1 of this year and will apply to all drone pilots operating what TC refers to as ‘remotely piloted aircraft systems’ that weigh between 250 grams and 25 kilograms, regardless of whether they are being operated for recreational, commercial or research purposes.

Among the highlights of the rules are the following requirements and restrictions:

  • Drones must be registered and the drone marked with its registration number;
  • Drone pilots must pass an online exam and get a pilot certificate for basic or advanced operations;
  • Drone pilots must be at least 14 years old for basic operations and 16 for advanced operations, unless supervised by a person having the proper certificates;
  • Drones must remain below an altitude of 122 m (400 feet) above ground level and below 30 m (100 feet) when above buildings.

Existing regulations that restrict drones from operating near airports continue to apply. A Special Flight Operations Certificates (SFOC) will be required for operations that fall outside of the new regulations.

“We’ve listened closely to feedback from Canadians and have updated our regulations to balance practicality and the safe use of drones. Drones are part of an important economic sector with significant potential to improve lives and connect communities across the country,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau. “Our new regulations will create new opportunities for Canadians by establishing a safe and predictable regulatory environment where the industry can innovate and where recreational and non-recreational drone pilots can safely access Canadian airspace.”

Visit Transport Canada’s drone webpage by clicking here, and access a database of drone flight schools here.