How to fly your Drone in Canada

Navigating the sky with drones is not just about having the right equipment or vision; it’s also about understanding and complying with the law. In Canada, drone piloting comes with its own set of rules and requirements. In this blog post, we’ll break down the types of drone classifications in Canada and walk you through the step-by-step process of legally flying your drone.

Types of Drone Classifications in Canada

The following classification info is from Transport Canada

Basic Operations

You are conducting basic operations if all of the following apply:

  • Flying in uncontrolled airspace
  • Staying more than 30 meters away from bystanders horizontally
  • Not flying over bystanders
  • Being more than 3 nautical miles away from certified airports or military aerodromes
  • Being more than 1 nautical mile away from certified heliports

Requirements for Basic Operations:

  • Register your drone with Transport Canada
  • Label your drone with its registration number
  • Pass the Small Basic Exam
  • Carry your Pilot Certificate – Basic Operations and proof of registration while flying

Advanced Operations

You are conducting advanced operations if you meet any one of the following conditions:

  • Flying in controlled airspace
  • Flying over bystanders
  • Flying within 30 meters of bystanders horizontally
  • Flying less than 3 nautical miles from certified airports or military aerodromes
  • Flying less than 1 nautical mile from certified heliports

Requirements for Advanced Operations:

  • Register your drone with Transport Canada
  • Label your drone with its registration number
  • Pass the Small Advanced Exam
  • Pass a flight review
  • Obtain permission to fly in controlled airspace
  • Operate within your drone’s operational limits

Micro-drones (Under 250g)

Micro-drones weigh less than 250 grams, excluding the weight of the remote control and any additional attachments. While registration and certification are not required for these drones, they must be operated safely and responsibly.

Guidelines for Micro-drones:

  • Keep the drone in line of sight
  • Don’t fly above 400 feet
  • Maintain a safe distance from bystanders and sensitive infrastructure

Drones Over 25kg

If your drone weighs more than 25 kg or you wish to fly outside the standard rules, you must obtain special permission from Transport Canada.

Infographic from Transport Canada on finding your Drone Category.

Getting Your Permit: The Step-by-Step Guide

1. Create a Flight Plan

Before you take off, plan your flight using the Drone Pilot Canada App. This app will help you organize all essential aspects of your flight and ensure you comply with local laws.

2. Seek Approval from NavCanada

Head over to NavCanada‘s website and submit your operation details. If your operation requires approval, you may need to wait or provide additional documentation to get the green light.

3. Geo Unlock Your DJI Drone

If you’re using a DJI drone, the next step is to geo unlock it through the DJI Fly Safe website. This ensures your drone can operate in the specific geographic area you have identified.

4. Purchase Insurance

Safety first! Purchase either hourly or monthly insurance through (or your insurance broker) to protect yourself and your equipment.

5. Pre-flight Preparations

The day before your flight, ensure all your batteries are fully charged and your drone firmware is up to date. Make sure to have all necessary documents stored on your iPad and iPhone for easy access.

DJI Mini 3 Pro in a shallow depth of field shot.

Why Choose Us for Your Next Drone Adventure?

When it comes to navigating the Canadian skies, Lapse Productions is your go-to authority. With an entire team of Advanced Drone Pilot License holders, we bring unparalleled expertise to your aerial filming needs. Whether it’s cinematic storytelling, intricate surveying, or breathtaking landscape captures, we’ve got the experience and the credentials to make it happen, safely and spectacularly.

Keen to discuss how we can elevate your project? Reach out to us for a consultation. Let’s make your aerial aspirations a reality!

Let’s Create Your Video Today

If you’re looking for top-notch quality, industry expertise, dependability, and competitive pricing, don’t wait any longer. Contact us now for a quote and let’s get started on your project.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Frequently Asked Questions