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New rules for Canadians flying larger drones

New rules for Canadians flying ‘larger’ drones. When you fly a drone of a certain size (250 grams to 55 Lbs) you will have to pass an online exam and get a pilot’s certificate. These new drone rules were announced today by federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau. The new rules will come into effect on June 1 and will apply to all drone operators, regardless if they fly for fun or for work.

New drone rules for Canadians

Canadian drone operators will be required to register their unmanned aircraft and label them with the registration number. Also, a minimum age of 14 will be introduced for basic drone operations and for advanced drone operation you will have to be 16 years of age.

Drone pilots in Canada will also be required to fly their unmanned aircraft below 400 feet (120m) above ground level and to stay away from manned air traffic, airports and emergency scenes. Keep the drone within visual line of sight.

You will also not be allowed to fly a drone when you’re drunk or under the influence of drugs.

At a news conference in Montreal Wednesday, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said:

“The government is resolved to improve the security of aviation and of the public. At the same time we are also resolved to encourage and support the possibilities of innovation and economic growth that drones represent.”

The new rules will apply to all drones weighing between 250 grams and 25 kilograms. To fly drones that weigh more than 25 kilograms or 55 Lbs you will need special permission from Transport Canada. If you want to fly your drone in a way that would break these rules, you will need to get a Special Flight Operation License from Transport Canada

The new drone rules aim to counter the trend of drone incursion into airspace reserved for manned aircraft. Violators of these new rules can be fined up to $3,000 CAD for individuals and up to $25,000 CAD for corporations as well as face prison.

The number of reported drone incidents has spiked from 38 in 2014 to 135 in 2017, according to Transport Canada.

A summary of the new rules.

Go to the Transport Canada website to read all the details.

Before you fly

  • Understand your legal requirements when flying drones
  • Understand the difference between basic and advanced operations
  • Get the necessary knowledge requirements
  • Get a drone pilot certificate
  • Choose the right drone if you want to perform advanced operations
  • Register your drone
  • Follow your drone manufacturer’s instructions
  • Survey the area where you will fly
    • Take note of any obstacles, such as buildings and power lines

While flying

To keep yourself and others safe, fly your drone:

  • where you can see it at all times
  • below 122 metres (400 feet) in the air
  • away from bystanders, at a minimum distance of 30 metres for basic operations
  • away from emergency operations and advertised events
    • Avoid forest fires, outdoor concerts and parades
  • away from airports and heliports
    • 5.6 kilometres (3 nautical miles) from airports
    • 1.9 kilometres (1 nautical mile) from heliports
  • far away from other aircraft
  • Don’t fly anywhere near airplanes, helicopters and other drones
    • Always respect the privacy of others while flying.

Until June 1st the old drone rules will remain in effect.


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Avatar for Haye Kesteloo Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at or @hayekesteloo