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.

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  • Interesting article Robert.  According to this my take away is that expensive drones manufactured by companies with a track record are more likely to have their drones meet SFOC requirements, and even the cops need an SFOC.

    Starting in November of last year, UAVs have been operating under a Special Flight Operations Certificate which allows it to fly over urban areas. The certificate must be renewed annually with Transport Canada.

    According to Sharpe, “Kenora was the first use of an UAV in civilian airspace within an urban environment in North America,” and “the Draganfly was the first commercial system of its kind to be used in an urban environment.”

  • Here's an interesting article:

  • We're ahead? Really?

    I'm not sure where you guys are getting the 35kg weight thing from. Right now TC is just finalizing the regulations for under 25kg UAS's flown within line of sight. They will then move to under 25kg out of sight regulations. However, the regulations need to be made into law first and that could take years (by TC's admission). Essentially the licensing will be the same as for an ultralight airplane but the UAS will need to be assessed for airworthiness which will require documentation from the manufacturer and I am not sure how well that will work for hobby kits. My fear is that the regulations will make it very difficult to fly an arducopter or mikrokopter commercially while favouring something built by someone like Aeryon Labs (thus making things much more expensive). I however have not tred o get a SFOC yet so I don't know the general attitude of TC towards something like a mikrokopter or an ardupilot based system. 

  • Grips, did you try Aviva?

    Here's what their web page says:

    Property and Casualty Insurance

    As a business owner, you want to protect your business from any actions or accidents causing property damage, losses or injury to a third party.

    Whether you operate a small, mid-size or complex business, Aviva offers a wide range of insurance packages to protect your property and physical assets. 

    Best of all, coverage is customized to suit your specific business needs.

    Casualty or liability insurance will protect your business from any incidents causing injury to a third party, for example, if a visitor or customer is injured on your premises, or if a product you manufacture or sell, causes injury to a third party.

    Sounds to me like that's what you should be getting.  And yes, you need to be perfectly clear about what's being covered, otherwise the adjuster will disallow your claim, in the future.  Take the regular business liability, and ask the broker to put in a rider that will cover your operation of the UAV, which is your business equipment.  Talk to a live broker, and not over the phone.  Once the broker has their meat hooks in you, they will try very hard to get you approved.  Insurance commissions are quite healthy, and it is very advantageous for a broker to sell you a $100K insurance policy for the life of your business. ;-)

  • Moderator

    There apparently is some UAV certification training in Alberta. I'm not sure about the national credibility of that but its worth a look.

  • Moderator

    Most likely, but it was a point I wanted to make that you need to be very specific as to the application the insurance would be used in.I'm sure the argument could be made in legal terms.

  • Is a UAV a motor vehicle?  I would think not, as it's not transporting anybody.  I think a motor vehicle is pretty rigidly defined as a vehicle transporting people or goods on highways.  And the reason the exception is there is because you're supposed to be buying automobile insurance for your delivery van...

  • Moderator

    I will be operating in Newfoundland. I have tried many different insurers but nobody will insure the risk of commercial UAV operations, even despite outlining and forwarding the documentation related to the SFOC process/requirements of Transport Canada.

    Even within the CGL link that Ellison provided, it states that issues such as "Property Damage due to a motorized vehicle accident" are not covered. This is exactly where UAV's would fall. The other thing is that I think you really need to be upfront with people or else its going to bite you when you go to make a claim and they say, "Well that wasn't explained to us."

  • Grips,

    as mentioned you can check the site that Ellison mentions as well. The correct underwriter that knows the industry is key. I would suggest loydds of london, and Marsh or Aviva. Lots of others will do UAV's but you might need to educate them a bit to get the premiums down to a reasonable level.


    I dont want to push one group or another, so a few phonecalls go a long way. I would ask for Commercial UAV Operations Liability Insurance when you are talking to a broker. Otherwise he may have some issues finding the best deal. The premiums vary greatly from cheaper with the ones with experience to expensive with the ones who don't care or are unfamiliar with the relative risk.

    What province are you planning to operate in?

  • @ Grips:   Try insurance thru RBC bank. It was by far the best price offered, only twice the cost of what I was paying in the US for the same thing, but still way below the close to three times cost offered by two other insurance companies. It's only a small price to pay for being safe from our fellow citizens.

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