Where Can
I Fly My
Drone in Canada?

Last edited on January 25th 2023

What We Will Cover in This Post

Flying a drone can be a fun and exciting hobby, but it's important to make sure you are doing so safely and legally. In Canada, there are various laws and regulations that apply to drone operations, and it's important to familiarize yourself with these rules before taking to the skies. In this blog post, we'll breifly cover the regulations for flying drones in Canada, safe flying practices, the best places to fly drones in the country, how to obtain permission to fly in certain areas, and resources for finding more information on drone flying in Canada.

Drones may not be flown higher than 400 feet. Advanced pilots can request authorization to operate in controlled airspace.

Who Sets the Rules for Flying Drones in Canada?

In Canada, drones are classified as remotely piloted aircraft systems and are regulated by Transport Canada, the federal department responsible for transportation in the country. According to Transport Canada, anyone operating a drone in Canada must follow the rules set out in Part 9 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs).

Flying Drones Near People in Canada

Under basic operations, drones weighing 250 grams and above must be flown at least 30 meters (100 feet) away from people not involved in the operation. Advanced drone pilots may fly certain drones within 30 metres of people not involved in the operation.

Can Drone Pilots Fly in Controlled Airspace in Canada?

Basic drone pilots are not authorized to fly drones in controlled airspace or within 3 nautical miles of an airport or 1 nautical mile from heliports. Advanced drone pilots have the ability to request authorization to operate in controlled airspace from NAV CANADA using the Nav Drone app. Drone operators in Canada have the luxury of near-instant approvals for most areas that fall under controlled airspace.

How High Can Drone Pilots Fly in Canada?

In Canada, drones may not be flown higher than 400 feet above ground level (AGL) without prior authorization. To operate a drone above 400 feet AGL, you must receive an approved SFOC from Transport Canada with special authorization to operate above 400 feet.

Forest Fires

It is also very important to note that drones must not be flown within 9.3 kilometers (5 nautical miles) of a forest fire. Unauthorized drones inside the restricted airspace surrounding a forest fire interferes with the emergency response operations involving aircraft.

Safe Flying Practices

To ensure the safety of yourself and others, it's important to follow safe flying practices when operating a drone. Some tips to keep in mind include:

  • Always fly your drone within visual line of sight. This means being able to see the drone with your own eyes, rather than relying on a camera or other device. Unless authorized by Transport Canada for BVLOS operations.
  • Don't fly over crowds. This includes events like sporting events, concerts, and protests.
  • Maintain a safe distance from other aircraft. Always provide manned aircraft with the right-of-way.
  • Follow all local laws and regulations. Make sure you are aware of any specific rules or restrictions that apply to flying drones in your area, and be sure to adhere to them.
  • Keep your drone away from power lines, antennae, and other structures that could be damaged by a collision or cause interference.
  • Don't fly your drone outside of the limitations set by the manufacturer. Strong winds, rain, and other adverse conditions can cause you to lose control of your drone.

Best Places to Fly Drones in Canada

There are many great places to fly drones in Canada, but it's important to choose a location that is safe and legal. Always be sure to have property owners permission, airspace authorization (if necessary), and remain a safe distance from bystanders. Some of the best places to fly drones in Canada include:

  • Parks: Many parks and green spaces offer plenty of open space and few obstacles, making them ideal for drone flying.
  • Open fields: Wide open fields with few trees or other obstacles can be great places to fly drones. Just be mindful of any nearby structures or people.
  • Remote areas: If you're looking for a more secluded spot to fly your drone, remote areas are best for flying but are difficult to travel to by nature.

Obtaining Permission to Fly Drones in Certain Areas

In some cases, you may need to obtain permission to fly your drone in certain areas. For example, if you want to fly your drone from private property, you will need to get permission from the property owner. Similarly, if you want to fly your drone in a national park or other protected area, you will need to obtain permission from the park superintendent or other authorities.

To obtain permission to fly your drone in a specific area, it's a good idea to reach out to the relevant authorities or property owner and ask for permission. Be sure to provide details about your intended flight, including the location, duration, and purpose of the flight.

Resources for Finding More Information on Drone Flying in Canada

If you're looking for more information on drone flying in Canada, there are a number of resources available to help you. Some useful resources include:

  • Transport Canada: The federal department responsible for transportation in Canada has a website dedicated to drones and UAVs, with information on the regulations that apply to drone operations in the country.
  • NAV CANADA: NAV CANADA's Nav Drone app provides information on the different types of airspace in Canada, including controlled, restricted, and advisory airspace. This information can help drone pilots understand where they are allowed to fly their drones and request authorization.

By following the regulations and safe flying practices outlined above, you can ensure that your drone flying experience in Canada is safe, legal, and enjoyable.