Drones are becoming more important and widespread, regardless of what you label them. They can be flown autonomously, controlled from afar, or accessed through a smartphone, making them ideal for gaining access to inconvenient or inaccessible locations with minimal investment of time, money, and human resources. In Canada, drones are used for everything from aerial photography and delivery services to military and police missions and border patrols.

However, the question is: do you need a license to fly drones in Canada? The restrictions pertaining to drones in Canada are among the toughest in the world. Whether you want to fly drones for business or entertainment, you must get a license before you operate a drone. 

Rules and Laws about Drones in Canada

In Canada, you will have to get a license, register your drone with the FAA, adhere to all relevant safety regulations, and learn about the laws that apply to your industry before you can fly a drone.

There are regulations in place for drone pilots in Canada. To begin with, no nation can legally fly a drone weighing more than 250 grams without first obtaining the appropriate certification. The laws in Canada may seem harsh at first glance but remember that everyone’s safety depends on you flying drones safely. 

If you want to fly drones in Canada for any reason you must follow the drone laws laid down by the Canadian government and relevant authorities. You should also keep in mind that the more restrictions you violate, the more regulations will be made to limit the usage of drones even more, maybe even to the point where we will no longer be able to fly them. 

We all want to make Canada a safe place for everyone and for that we must ensure people’s privacy, safety, and autonomy. We have to make flying drones a safe experience so more people are accepting of it.

To operate a drone safely and legally in any nation, you must familiarize yourself with the local regulations. The nation’s aviation authority is often responsible for drafting such regulations.

Transport Canada, the federal department in charge of all modes of transportation in the nation, includes aviation in its purview, and as such, it is responsible for establishing rules governing the use of drones inside Canadian airspace. There are two levels of certification available in Canada for piloting drones weighing 250 g and 25 kg. Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) demand that you register your drone and operate it in accordance with certain guidelines.

The CARs has laid out all the laws, which vary depending on what you want to do with your drone and where you intend to fly it. If you need to break away from standard flight procedures, you have options for doing so.

Although certification is not required to operate a drone weighing less than 250 grams, there are still rules to observe. It may seem daunting to go through so many rules for so many different scenarios, but there are certain general requirements to meet while operating a drone, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an expert pilot. These regulations are:

  • If your drone weighs more than 250 grams, you must register it with Transport Canada and display your registration number
  • Check the weather and terrain, then fly in accordance with the drone’s manual
  • Stay low and only fly where you can see the ground
  • Keep your altitude below 122 m (400 ft)
  • Don’t go too close to any human-crewed aircraft, public events, or emergency activities

Other Things You Must Keep In Mind

Drone pilots in Canada should also be aware of the following regulations:

Flying a drone does not exempt you from compliance with other Canadian laws, including those pertaining to privacy and the criminal code. There is no excuse for reckless drone operations.

Some things you do with your drone may qualify as trespassing or vandalism. Even if drones aren’t officially named, the same restrictions apply to them regarding privacy laws and criminal code legislation. Without their knowledge and permission, you can’t obtain information about other people, such as their names and addresses.

The privacy precautions you need to take when flying might vary depending on whether you’re a leisure or commercial flyer. The collection of data is an important consideration for recreational drone pilots. They should not collect any personally identifiable information; if they do, they must get permission beforehand.

If you’re using a drone to follow a vehicle and you can read the license plate, you need to get permission from the car’s owner or the person to whom the plate is registered. It’s important to obscure this data if you don’t have permission to use it.

The same goes for the personal space of others; if someone complains that your drones are causing discomfort, you must comply with their wishes.

If you’re flying a drone in any other Canadian province, you’ll need to comply with PIPEDA, which mandates that you notify individuals before collecting, using, or revealing their personal information. You must explain to your subjects why you’re gathering this data and how they may get the finished product. 

Users of drones should familiarize themselves with privacy guidelines for further information on applicable legislation.

Canada is one of the top countries to fly a drone in, despite the many restrictions on where and how you may do so. Canada offers a wide variety of landscapes and seasonal opportunities for photographers. So, keep up with the latest CARs and fly your drones legally and safely.

Law Breaking and Penalties 

If you are found using a drone outside of the law you may be fined up to 5k dollars. Here are some of the possible illegal actions that may lead to penalties. 

  • illegal use of a drone by someone who isn’t a licensed pilot
  • violating the rules of the air (by not having a Special Flight Operations Certificate)
  • Using a UAV that is not properly tagged or registered
  • Drone pilots who endanger other planes or persons might face a punishment of up to $15,000

Conclusion:  Do You Need A License To Fly Drones In Canada?

Yes, you do need a license to fly a drone in Canada but drones weighing less than 250g do not need a license. Photographers and videographers specializing in weddings should adhere to all applicable regulations and get specialized training before employing drones. Proper training and abiding by the laws are sufficient whether your profession is real estate, filmmaking, building, or farming. However, liability insurance is something you should consider as well. Insurance isn’t necessary to operate a drone, but it might come in handy if you fly your drones near populated areas.

Remember to be cautious and watch your surroundings when in the air. You can fly your drone however you want but you should stay within the bounds of the law and drone policy during a flight. Manual limitations as per the drone regulations in Canada may be applicable, so make sure not to go too far or too high.

If you don’t do anything dangerous and respect people’s boundaries and privacy, you’ll be fine and have a much better time flying too.