Drone Licensing in Canada

Everyone flying a drone in Canada needs a license, if the weight exceeds 250 grams. So if you are flying a baby drone, you need not read on, but if you are looking for a bigger drone or have a big drone… you might want to get your license. In Canada, we categorize drones into two types of operators Advanced Operation and Basic Operation. Drone licensing in Canada is relatively straightforward, both types of operation require an online exam but for Advanced Operators, you need to have an in-person flight test. Some people reading this might think “Why would I get my Pilot Certificate if I am just a hobbyist”; the answer is simple, a $5000 fine could be handed to you even if you are just a hobby drone flyer like us. Once you get your license make sure you hop over to our accessories page!

Basic Drone Pilot Certificate

The basic drone operation certificate indicates that if you check all these boxes at all times then you are a basic pilot. If at any point you want to do any operation that contradicts these five points then you switch to Advance Operations.
 
  • You fly it in uncontrolled airspace
  • You fly it more than 30 metres (100 feet) horizontally from bystanders
  • You never fly it over bystanders
  • You fly it more than 3 nautical miles from a certified airport or a military aerodrome
  • You fly it more than 1 nautical mile from a certified heliport

Advanced Drone Pilot Certificate

If you are not in the category of basic drone flying then you are automatically categorized as an advance flyer. If you meet any of these requirements you are considered advanced:

  • You want to fly in controlled airspace
  • You want to fly over bystanders
  • You want to fly within 30 metres (100 feet) of bystanders (measured horizontally)
  • You want to fly less than 3 nautical miles from a certified airport or a military aerodrome
  • You want to fly less than 1 nautical mile from a certified heliport

Other Considerations

You will need to register your drone to be able to fly, under both operation certificates. Under the Advanced operator’s license, you will need to use your registration to get ground clearance before flying into controlled airspaces. In order to help you get your license, I will turn you to drone expert Ranen at R4D Creations to walk you through the licensing exam and requirements.

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