UAS CE welcomes Transport Canada’s new rules for drones

Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence (UAS CE) welcomes the new regulations surrounding the use of drones issued on Jan. 10, 2019, by Minister of Transport Marc Garneau.

“These new rules will provide better guidelines for the use of drones under 25 kilograms [kg], which accounts for a large proportion of operators. These rules will help us raise awareness about the good practices for drones, especially for recreational users in order to ensure a safe integration of this technology in our civil airspace,” said UAS CE’s general director, Marc Moffatt


Moffatt says that the regulations are still a work in progress: “On top of setting up rules to be followed, we must ensure that the commercial operators possess the proper skills. The UAS CE is working to implement a pre-qualification program for systems to validate their compliance and for users to evaluate their skills to perform the required operations in the course of their work.” Moffatt also says that the creation of the niche of excellence in unmanned aerial systems, as annoucned earlier in 2018 by Quebec’s government, will also prove to be an important factor in the development of the sector.

The UAS CE’s president, Alain Fortin, added: “The UAS CE is glad to see an evolution of the regulations and will continue to work closely with Transport Canada in the development of procedures and rules, notably for operations with drones of more than 25 kg and outside the visual line of sight (VLOS). The UAS CE is one of only two sites dedicated to these types of activities in Canada. With the opportunities provided in part by its flight zones reserved for drones, the centre will play an important role in the next step.

The new rule, which will come into effect on June 1, 2019, will apply to all drone pilots using systems weighing between 250 grams to 25 kg within their sight whether it is for fun, for work, or for research. The rule introduces two main categories of drone operations: basic operations and advanced operations. These categories each include a set of rules, which stipulates that a pilot must:


  • Register the drone with Transport Canada and mark it with its registration number;
  • Pass an online exam and obtain a pilot certificate for basic or advanced operations;
  • Be at least 14 years old for basic operations and 16 years old for advanced operations, or be supervised by a person possessing the adequate certifications;
  • Fly below 122 metres (400 feet) above ground; and
  • Stay clear of air traffic.

Pilots who need to fly a drone without complying to rules surrounding basic or advanced operations must ask for a special flight operations certificate (SFOC) before being allowed to fly.

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