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Drones are aircraft—which makes you a pilot. When you fly your drone, you’re sharing the skies with other drones and aircraft. Before you fly, understand the rules you must follow and review our safety tips.
On this page
- Legal requirements when flying drones
- Fly your drone safely
- Tips for first-time pilots
- Useful terms to know
Drone pilots must carry a valid drone pilot certificate and only fly drones that are marked and registered.
Respect all other lawsYou must respect all other laws when flying your drone. We encourage you to read the following documents before you fly for the first time:
- Relevant sections of the Criminal Code, including Offences against Air or Maritime Safety, Breaking and Entering, and Mischief
- your province’s trespass act
- laws related to voyeurism and privacy
We investigate reports of unsafe flying. We may involve local police if you break other laws.
Fly your drone safelyIt’s important that you fly your drone responsibly to avoid harming others. Here are the rules you need to follow.
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
- 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
PenaltiesYou could face serious penalties, including fines and/or jail time, if you break the rules.
Fines for individuals
- up to $1,000 for flying without a drone pilot certificate
- up to $1,000 for flying unregistered or unmarked drones
- up to $1,000 for flying where you are not allowed
- up to $3,000 for putting aircraft and people at risk
- up to $5,000 for flying without a drone pilot certificate
- up to $5,000 for flying unregistered or unmarked drones
- up to $5,000 for flying where you are not allowed
- up to $15,000 for putting aircraft and people at risk
Tips for first-time pilots
- Make sure it is safe to fly (ask yourself, for example: are the batteries fully charged? Is it too cold or windy to fly?)
- Fly your drone with someone who has flown a drone before
- Fly your drone in an open space and away from people
- Fly your drone close to the ground and at a low speed
- Fly your drone during daylight and in good weather
Useful terms to knowDrone and Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS)We use the term “drone” on these pages to refer to any type of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). There are a number of different terms for this technology. In Part IX of the Canadian Aviation Regulations, we use the term Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems to align with our international partners.
Visual-line-of-sight (VLOS)Visual-line-of-sight means keeping your device in sight at all times without visual aid (for example, binoculars or video feed). This means not flying into clouds or fog, or behind trees, buildings or other (even partial) obstructions.
BystanderBystander refers to anyone that is not directly associated with operating the drone. Among others, this excludes the pilot and crew.