Can You Fly A Drone in Canada? (Answered)


In this blog post, we’ll explore the question, “Is drone flying allowed in Canada?”.

So, let’s jump in and discover everything you need to know — regulations, penalties (if any) and safety tips to keep in mind!

Can You Fly A Drone in Canada

Can You Fly a Drone in Canada?

Yes, you can fly a drone in Canada. However, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the local regulations and guidelines to ensure a safe and legal flying experience. Here drone flights are regulated by the Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA), which has specific rules and restrictions in place to protect public safety and privacy. By adhering to these regulations and respecting the local authorities’ guidelines, drone enthusiasts can enjoy capturing stunning aerial footage while exploring Canada’s beautiful landscapes.

Overview of Drone Regulations

Let’s take a look at some of the key points for drone regulations:

Maximum Altitude Limits

  • Drone operators must ensure their drones do not fly higher than 122 metres (400 feet) above ground level.
  • The drone should not fly higher than 90 meters (300 feet) above ground level, in controlled airspace (between 3 nautical miles (6 km) and 12 nautical miles (22 km) from a certified airport).

Distance Restrictions

  • Drones must be flown no closer than 30 meters (approximately 98.4 feet) from bystanders in any direction at any time. This rule is applicable vertically and horizontally from the person, and applies to drones of all sizes.
  • The maximum allowable altitude for drone operation is 122 meters (400 feet) above ground level. Additionally, drones cannot be flown within 5.6 kilometers (approximately 3.5 miles) of any airport, heliport, aerodrome or water aerodrome where aircraft take-off and land.

Prohibited Activities and Actions

  • Drone pilots must avoid flying within 5.6 kilometres (3 miles) of airports and 1.9 kilometres (1 mile) of heliports. Flights in controlled or restricted airspace are also prohibited.
  • All drone operations must be conducted in a manner that ensures the safety of people and property on the ground at all times. This means not flying over events, near emergency operations, over crowds, or at a height of more than 122 metres (400 feet).

Privacy and Data Protection Considerations

  • All drone operators must respect laws related to privacy and trespassing under the Criminal Code, Privacy Act and Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). This includes not capturing images or videos of individuals in a private setting without their consent, and not using drones for surveillance or to collect personal information without appropriate permission.
  • Data collected by drones, including images, videos or any other forms of personal data, must be properly secured to prevent unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. This ensures adherence to data protection principles under PIPEDA, which include accountability, consent, limiting collection, limiting use, disclosure, and retention, accuracy, safeguards, openness, individual access, and challenging compliance.

Commercial Operations

  • All commercial drone operators must hold a valid pilot certificate – advanced operations and should only operate drones that meet the safety requirements outlined for the intended operation’s airspace and proximity to people.
  • Commercial drones weighing over 250 grams to 25 kilograms need to be registered and marked with a registration number. Additionally, operators must keep their drones within 500 meters (1,640 feet) of themselves during flight.

Penalties for Violating Drone Regulations

If someone disobeys the drone regulations in Canada, they could face significant penalties. Violations can lead to fines of up to $3,000 for individuals and $25,000 for corporations for every infraction. These penalties can be imposed for a range of violations, such as flying where you are not allowed, putting aircraft and people at risk, or even flying without a drone pilot certificate.

Aside from financial penalties, serious violations may also result in jail time, especially if the drone is used in a way that is reckless or negligent and endangers the life or property of others. It’s also important to note that if you are caught flying a drone without the necessary permits or outside the boundaries of these permits, the drone could be seized or detained. This could result in further inconvenience and costs for the drone operator.

Tips for Safe and Responsible Drone Flying in Canada

To ensure a positive drone flying experience and comply with the regulations, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  1. Understand Regulations: Familiarize yourself with Transport Canada’s drone safety rules, including obtaining the necessary pilot certificate for your drone’s weight and intended use.
  2. Respect Airspace: Avoid flying in prohibited airspace, near emergency operations, or within 5.6 kilometers (3 miles) of airports unless authorized to do so.
  3. Keep Visual Contact: Always maintain visual-line-of-sight with your drone to monitor its location, direction, and altitude effectively.
  4. Control Altitude: Do not fly your drone higher than 122 meters (400 feet) above ground level to prevent interference with manned aircrafts.
  5. Consider Privacy: Be mindful of privacy rights; avoid flying over private property or taking photos or videos without explicit consent.


Can I Fly My Drone at Night in Canada?

Yes, you can fly your drone at night in Canada. However, it must have lighting that makes it visible from three nautical miles away. This is a requirement stipulated by Transport Canada for safe drone operation.

Can You Bring a Drone to Canada?

Yes, you can bring a drone to Canada. However, make sure to follow Transport Canada’s rules for flying drones, which include obtaining necessary permits and avoiding no-fly zones, to ensure a safe and legal flying experience.

Do I Need a License or Permit to Fly a Drone in Canada?

Yes, you need a license to fly a drone in Canada. Depending on the drone’s weight and usage, you may need a Basic or Advanced Operations Pilot Certificate, which are provided by Transport Canada. Unlicensed use can lead to fines.


Before you launch your drone into the Canada skies, it’s crucial to understand the area’s drone laws and regulations.

This applies not only to Canada but also to other destinations around the world. For example, if you’re heading to Prague, it’s important to know the specific rules and guidelines for drone flying there. Similarly, if you have dreams of capturing breathtaking footage of Lincoln Harbor Park or exploring drone opportunities around Arlington, Virginia, it’s essential to be aware of the local drone regulations in those locations as well.

Drone laws are subject to change, and information in this blog may become outdated; always consult official sources for the latest regulations.

So, whether you’re planning a leisurely flight or engaging in commercial drone operations, make sure to fly responsibly, and stay informed.

Resources and Further Information:

Photo of author
Peter Karanja is a licensed drone pilot from Kenya, freelance writer and drone enthusiast. He has been using drones for land survey, GIS, and photography for the past three years. Being a drone user, he loves writing about drone applications, safety tips for using drones, and the best ways to get the most out of a drone.

Leave a Comment