What You Need to Know About Canada’s Drone Laws in June 2019

What You Need to Know About Canada’s Drone Laws in June 2019

March 12, 2019

CALLING ALL DRONE ENTHUSIASTS! As of June 1, 2019, Transport Canada’s new drone regulations have come into effect. Whether you’ve recently purchased your first drone or are a professional drone pilot, you’ll need to get up-to-date on the new laws to avoid potentially hefty fines when you take to the skies.

What You Need to Know About Canada’s Drone Laws 1

What You Can Expect from Canada’s New Drone Laws

The keyword for Canada’s new drone rules is balanced. Both the safety of the public and the benefits of drone technology have been considered and applied to the new drone rules.

Recreational pilots will no longer have separate rules to follow. All drone pilots are advised to always have their valid drone pilot certificate on them, and they must register any marked drones they wish to fly.

While it’s essential to follow the rules of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CAR), it’s imperative that you also follow the laws of your province that relate to the Criminal Code, trespassing, voyeurism, and privacy.

The Government of Canada offers an online drone test that must be completed and passed by pilots owning a drone “with a maximum takeoff weight of 250 grams up to and including 25 kilograms.

Some conditions of the exam that pilots may not be aware of include:

  • A fee of $10 for every attempt at the exam.
  • A Small Basic exam or a Small Advanced exam is to be taken, depending on the airspace and
    type of aircraft.
  • Attendance at a drone school is recommended but not mandatory to become better acquainted with the new rules and to increase your chances of passing the exam.
  • An in-person flight review component of the Small Advanced exam, which means you will need to contact a flight reviewer from a drone flight school.
  • Access the Drone Management Portal via the Transport Canada website.

It’s essential to follow the new drone laws for Canada because you will be fined, otherwise. It’s important to note that the penalties are separated according to whether you’re an individual or a corporation. Both individuals and corporations are not permitted to fly their drones:

  • without a valid drone pilot certificate
  • if the drone is unregistered and unmarked
  • in restricted locations
  • in ways that put people and other aircrafts in danger

Individuals and corporations can receive multiple penalties if they break more than one rule. For individuals, the highest fine they will have to pay is $3,000 while the highest corporations will have to pay $15,000.

Drones are to always be flown within your visual-line-of-sight (VLOS); you are not allowed to rely on binoculars or video feed to track your drone. While this act breaks the rules, it also puts your drone at risk of damage and loss. If you love your drone, treat it with the love and respect it deserves!

Canada’s Old Drone Laws

Back in 2017, the TCCA had imposed strict rules on recreational drone pilots. The public did not take to them very well since pilots were left with few places to fly drones. The TCCA’s rules declared that recreational pilots had to keep their drones 246 feet away from:

  • Buildings
  • People
  • Animals
  • Vehicles
  • Vessels
  • Crowds

Thankfully, the TCCA revised the rules a few months later, giving drone pilots more freedom. The distance was changed from 246 feet to about 98 feet in relation to people and vehicles.

Recreational drone pilots had to follow the Interim Order Respecting the Use of Model Aircraft if they were going to fly a drone of over 250 grams and under 35 kilograms.

Notable omissions:

  • Members of the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC) are no longer exempt from Part IX of the Canadian Aviation Regulations in the “Legal requirements when flying drones” section.
  • Rule nine of the “Fly your drone safely – Before you fly” section relates to advanced operations, and pilots must “ask NAV CANADA for an RPAS Flight Authorization” if they want “to operate in controlled airspace (Classes C, D or E)."
  • Flying your drone “outside controlled airspace (for basic operations only)” in the “Fly your drone safely - While flying” section.

Zone Restrictions for Drones in Canada

When you have a drone, it doesn’t mean the world is your oyster. You have to abide by the laws and stay out of unauthorized zones. Airports, heliports, and aerodromes have restrictions on how close you can fly your drone to them.

You cannot fly past 5.6 kilometres around an airport, or 1.9 kilometres around heliports and aerodromes.

National parks don’t allow any flying of recreational drones, but commercial drones are allowed to operate provided they have a permit.

Nowadays, people film accidents, severe weather conditions, and natural disasters with their phone, so they often think that they can also use their drone to do the same thing. However, drones are not allowed to be flown inside security perimeters or disasters sites.

Drone pilots should consult NAV CANADA’s Designated Airspace Handbook for a complete list of location restrictions according to the city you are operating in.

In certain cases, you can apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC), which will allow you to fly beyond the rule-bound areas. You must verify that you can apply for it, and you must fill out the forms provided by the Government of Canada.

DJI Drone Models

Drone enthusiasts will be happy to hear that DJI has nine models that can fly near people in accordance with the TCCA’s new requirements that take effect on June 1 st . Twenty-three of DJI’s drone models are currently listed as eligible for advanced operations by the Government of Canada, which includes:

  • MATRICE 200 series
  • MATRICE 200 V2 series
  • PHANTOM 4 series
  • DJI MATRICE 600 series

As Canada’s First Official DJI Retail and Repair Center, Dr Drone is committed to ensuring our DJI drone systems meet industry standards and regulations for the safest and most efficient flight experience possible. We provide professional drone training programs to ensure our clients fly responsibly while still enjoying the thrill of flight. Find a drone at our shop that fits your needs and
lifestyle, or contact us for more information.