Civil law

The Legality Of Drones In Canada

Slowly but surely, drones are becoming a fixture of everyday life. While the average Canadian may not own a drone, they definitely know what the unmanned flying machines are, and their respective applications, which are numerous.

But, being such a new technology, what many Canadian’s don’t know are the laws and regulations set out by the federal government concerning drones.

legality of drones

Surprisingly, there isn’t much regulation when it comes to operating a drone, at least when they’re being used for recreational purposes.

As outlined by Transport Canada, any drone that is used for leisure, and weighs less than 35kg requires no special permission to fly. All you need to do is follow Transport Canada’s safety guidelines, specifically all rules set by the Canadian Aviation Regulations and Criminal Code.

This also applies to unmanned air vehicles, remote control aircraft, model aircraft, and any other name a drone or like technology may go by.

What is very important to note, and has already got some Canadians slapped with fines, is that the aforementioned guideline doesn’t quite apply to drones used for work or research.

Now, if a company or research team’s drone weighs less than 2 kilograms, there is no issue, and they merely have to follow the general safety regulations mentioned above.

But, if said drone were to weight between 2.1 kg to 25 kg, you must let Transport Canada know and complete a Special Flight Operations, each and every time you fly the drone in question.

That’s the reason why a pair of realtors in Vancouver was allowed to shoot photos of a property while an individual in Montreal did the same thing but got fined. The former fills out the required submission form with every use of their drone, whereas the other had no idea the form existed.

The submission form is surprisingly short, requiring only a few bits of information, including the drone’s serial number, a description of the given operation, and where it will be used.

So as you can see, drone laws in Canada are incredibly relaxed, and arguably nonexistent, as all that is really outlined by the government are guidelines and permission forms. Essentially, almost any Canadian citizen, company, or researcher can use a drone for just about any purpose.

But, to circumvent any issues in the future, the Canadian government needs to ensure citizens are entirely aware of existing regulations (specifically the Special Flight Operations form) while also being wary as to how drone technology will grow in the future.

No doubt that as the technology grows in popularity, stricter laws will be created, though only time will tell.

Featured image courtesy of: Alfred Grupstra Photography