Canada is at the Vanguard of UAV Regulations


Figure 12-2 Work Plan

Well folks after some browsing I've discovered that Canada is the current leader in terms of regulations of commercial use UAVs in North America.  Whereas the US President has just recently signed a bill to get the FAA to create detailed regulations for commercial use of UAVs, Canada has been working on them since 2008.

Here's a Work Plan extracted from the final report of the UAV Working Group, from the Transport Canada website:

12.2 Work Plan for Complete and Safe Integration into Canadian Airspace: 2012

The Working Group proposes the following Work Plan to achieve complete and safe integration of UAVs into Canadian airspace by the year 2012. The Working Group believes there is an immediate need for the creation of a UAV SFOC Review Working Group. All other Working Groups that are referenced in this Work Plan would be part of a longer-term process to achieve routine operations of UAVs in Canadian airspace.



  1. Submit Unmanned Air Vehicle Working Group Final Report to Transport Canada Senior management; and
  2. Approval and creation of a UAV SFOC Review Working Group.


  1. Implement registration of UAVs;
  2. Revise Staff Instructions in accordance with UAV SFOC Review Working Group recommendations and implement additional recommendations (advisory material etc.);
  3. Have procedures/exemption(s) in place for UAVs operating inside buildings and underground;
  4. Continue the development of Industry Groups to represent the Canadian UAV Industry to Transport Canada;
  5. Initiate collaborative effort toward Design Standards; and
  6. Allocation of dedicated Transport Canada resources.


  1. Develop or adopt Airworthiness Design Standards for UAVs with a MTOW not exceeding 150 Kg;
  2. Creation of a Working Group to deal with UAS-specific components; and
  3. Create Notices of Proposed Amendments (NPAs) for presentation at CARAC Technical Committee Meetings:
    1. January 1st – December 30th:
      1. General Operating and Flight Rules;
      2. Pilot/Maintainer Qualifications and Training; and
      3. Maintenance and Flight Authorities.


  1. Create NPAs for presentation at CARAC Technical Committee Meetings:
    1. Completed by December 30th:
      1. Airworthiness Certification;
      2. Operating Certificates (new Working Group); and
      3. New operating rules (e.g., IFR approaches etc.).
  2. Development of Advisory material / Exemptions - after approval of NPAs


  1. Completion – safe airspace integration.

Views: 2146

Comment by Gary Mortimer on February 23, 2012 at 2:02pm
Here's a little bit I must update it there are several other European countries with stuff in place now.
Comment by Nafru on February 23, 2012 at 2:04pm

You are welcome, and I am sorry for causing trouble. ;)


Comment by Ellison Chan on February 23, 2012 at 2:20pm

Sounds like the UK regulations are similar to Canada.  They still require the SRG 1320: Unmanned Aircraft (UA) - Application for Operation for commercial flying, which seems similar to the SFOC.

Comment by Maxime Carrier on February 23, 2012 at 3:34pm


Cup you if drink :D

I hope sUAV will stay relatively "free"

Comment by Grips on February 23, 2012 at 3:53pm

Keep in mind that the publish date on that material is 2007. The SFOC process is still the backbone of commercial UAV use in Canada. The straw that breaks the camels back is that there is nobody that will insure a UAV in Canada. Not even for 100k liability which is required under the SFOC regulations.

The standards that they set out in that document start at 35kg.. which is WAY too much for anything that we are hauling up in the sky. They need an ultra-light category I'd think.

Comment by Ellison Chan on February 23, 2012 at 4:23pm

Interesting points, Grips.  But as for insurance, sounds to me that regular business liability insurance should do the trick.  It might not cover the cost of replacing your UAV, in the event of a crash.  But it should cover any personal injury to you or bystanders.  

Also TC seems to be very current with technology.  They facebook and twitter accounts.  I just twitted them a question, asking about the Working Group status.  I wonder if they will answer.!/transport_gc

Comment by Tom in NOVA on February 23, 2012 at 4:40pm

I am temporarily in Canada (from the US)... there are regulations for everything and anything.  I am not even sure I am allowed to write this....     :)

In my humble opinion, most Americans would rebel if surrounded in daily life by so many laws/rules. However, in a democracy people vote whatever rules/laws they want enacted by their own government, so it's all good. 

Comment by Nafru on February 23, 2012 at 5:08pm

Oh that's it.
I am calling CSIS and turning you in Tom!

Its not that bad here. Honest. Most Americans just dont like our gun laws is all.

Comment by Maxime Carrier on February 23, 2012 at 6:31pm

@Tom in ON

Don't come in province of Quebec, you will make an heart attack :D

Comment by Darryl Jacobs on February 23, 2012 at 6:37pm

First of all, regulations are good as long as they are built and used in moderation. I have found that the SFOC process currently used in Canada is straight forward and logical for commercial operators to safely operate UAV's for commercial purposes. The regulatory process ongoing up here is an important step in assuring that we don't get the "crazies" doing stupid things with UAV's that will only cause issues for those who want to operate professionally

As well, the insurance industry is grasping the concepts for at least the light weight under 35kg UAV.  A growing number of insurance companies are stepping up to the plate with reasonable rates and requirements for the liability side. AS mentioned by Ellison, the cost of the UAV pales in comparison to the cost of  hurting property or people.


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