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Archived - New rules for small unmanned aircraft

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Transport Canada makes it easier to fly small UAVs for work and research

November 27, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – Transport Canada

Transport Canada today introduced two new exemptions that make it easier for businesses to fly small unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) safely and legally.

Under the new exemptions, a Special Flight Operations Certificate will no longer be required for certain operations involving very small (under 2 kg) and small (between 2 kg and 25 kg) UAVs. The new approach will apply to commercial operations and contribute to a strong safety regime.

To qualify under the new rules, operators must check Transport Canada’s website to confirm if the exemptions apply to them. If they do, operators must respect strict safety conditions at all times, including height restrictions, minimum distances from aerodromes and other hazards, as well as flight within specific airspace and visual line‑of‑sight. Anyone operating outside of these conditions will be required to apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate.

These exemptions were previously announced to stakeholders at the Unmanned Systems Canada conference on November 5th. In October, Minister Raitt launched the Government of Canada’s national safety awareness campaign, which aims to help Canadians better understand the risks and responsibilities of flying UAVs. For more information, please visit

Quick Facts

  • Canada has had safety regulations in place that govern the use of UAVs since 1996.
  • Operators that use UAVs over 25 kg for work or research must apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate.
  • If an operator flies a UAV without a Special Flight Operations Certificate and should have one, Transport Canada can issue fines of up to $5,000 for an individual and $25,000 for a company.
  • If an operator does not follow the requirements of their Special Flight Operations Certificate, Transport Canada can issue fines of up to $3,000 for an individual and $15,000 for a business.
  • Recreational operators continue to be responsible to fly safely and should refer to Transport Canada’s website for information on any operating requirements.


"These exemptions mark an important milestone in UAV safety. By easing restrictions for businesses, Canada is promoting growth and innovation in an important sector, while ensuring the continued safety of those on the ground and in the sky."

The Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport

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Ashley Kelahear

Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

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Transport Canada, Ottawa

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