In Canada...Simpler rules for small unmanned air vehicles

3689624595?profile=originalTransport Canada makes it easier to fly small UAVs for work and pleasure

November 5, 2014, 2014 – Montréal, Quebec – Transport Canada

Transport Canada today announced, at the Unmanned Systems Canada conference in Montréal, two exemptions that simplify small unmanned air vehicle (UAV) operations and safely integrate UAVs into Canadian airspace.

Under the new exemptions, a Special Flight Operations Certificate will not be required for UAVs under 2 kilograms and certain operations involving UAVs under 25 kilograms. The new approach will apply to commercial operations and contribute to a strong safety regime for those on the ground and in the skies.

Once the changes come into effect later this month, operators must check on Transport Canada’s website if the exemptions apply to them and respect specific safety conditions, including requirements to operate within visual line-of-sight, maximum altitudes and away from built-up areas and aerodromes. In addition, Transport Canada is simplifying the application process and reducing the time it takes to issue Special Flight Operations Certificates for larger UAV operators.

In October, Minister Raitt launched the Government of Canada’s national safety awareness campaign for UAVs, which aims to help Canadians better understand the risks and responsibilities of flying UAVs. For more information, please visit

Quick Facts

  • Transport Canada regulates the use of all aircraft, manned and unmanned, to keep the public and our airspace safe.

  • Canada has had safety regulations in place that govern the use of UAVs since 1996.

  • Operators must still apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate for UAVs weighing more than 25 kg.

  • If a UAV is operated without a Special Flight Operations Certificate and should be, Transport Canada can issue fines of up to $5,000 for an individual and $25,000 for a company.

  • If an operator does not follow the requirements of their Special Flight Operations Certificate, Transport Canada can issue fines of up to $3,000 for an individual and $15,000 for a business.


“Transport Canada has requirements in place for aircraft of all sizes. For businesses, these changes will make it easier for their small UAVs to take flight sooner, while maintaining the safety of those on the ground and in the skies”
The Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport

“This approach will dramatically improve the ability for Canadian businesses to safely make use of this extremely capable technology while substantially reducing the time it takes to get authorization for more complex operations. Coupled with the safety awareness campaign announced two weeks ago, I believe that Canada now has one of the most effective and progressive UAV regulatory frameworks in the world.”
Stewart Baillie
Chairman, Unmanned Systems Canada


Ashley Kelahear
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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  • Anyone any idea when the official information will be posted.

    Hey Rob, we should talk about your mapping heli. 

  • Hat's off to Canada. I sure hope the US FAA is viewing this.

    The important consideration is that Canada has issued regulations that are reasonable from a safety consideration AND do not hamper competitiveness in a worldwide marketplace. Seems to me to be a good balance.

  • Agreed Rob. So refreshing to see a government agency with some sense; I wouldn't be surprised if the "light UAVs" segment is reasonably regulated too. I think I'll pack my bags and move up north. No more "America's hat" jokes from this guy - you guys are leading the way in sensible UAS integration in North America.

    I think the "8 km or more from any village, town or airport" is pretty reasonable too - this would cover almost all ag uses (depending on the definition of "village," I guess), and quite a lot of commercial uses. And, if they are as reasonable with the SFOC as they are with their regulations, it seems like safe, coordinated operation of a "light UAV" within more populated airspace is very possible too.

    Man, I'm jealous.

  • Interesting document here:


    DGCA France

    The French DGCA divide the weights of RPA into three categories: less than 2kg, between 2kg–25kg, and between 25kg–150 kg. Any RPAs that are above 150 kg of weight is handled by EASA.

    So I guess there's a couple countries which are looking at a 25kg break-point.  

    Also, there is more info here:

    Starting December 2014, very light UAVs (less than 2 kg) or light UAVs between 2 and 25 kg, operated at 8 km or more from any village, town or airport, and complying with a list of conditions, will be exempted from the SFOC requirement. UAVs operated at higher risks, in urban or industrial areas for example, will continue to require a SFOC. 

    This is looking good for the 2-25kg class.  Still waiting to see the list of conditions.  Hopefully it's not something like "requires commercial pilot's license", etc.  I'm hoping it's more like "Ability to return to home automatically.  Requires 300 foot altitude limit.  Requires 2 independent control links with the ability to end flight."  etc. those would be very sensible.

  • Nice !!!! just it's getting colder and I am flying less and less :-) bring summer already eh !

  • I'm dying to see the full text of the rules!

    I also have a Tarot quad that is 1360g empty.  Not much I can take off of it except the landing gear.  I've also not been able to get stable video from it.  So I'll have to see what I can do with it.

  • WOW... our federal government is not as dysfunctional as I believed :)

  • Moderator

    Just about all of the UKs 300 odd commercial operators run like that and they seem to be doing ok.

    It won't be long and the camera sensors would be upto this job sub 2kg and until then it will certainly fit under 25

  • " including requirements to operate within visual line-of-sight, maximum altitudes and away from built-up areas and aerodromes"

    It will be interesting to see what sort of commercial ops you can do - I guess ag and power line stuff will be fine, but real estate and event imagery will be a different ball game.

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