Canada is going to introduce new drone laws as of June 1, 2019. Canada is following numerous other countries that have tightened their regulations in recent months. Compared to the USA, Canada will introduce stricter rules and some specialities:
Minimum age 14 and Canadian residence permit required
A drone pilot must be at least 14 years old in the future, for “Advanced Operations” even 16 years old – and either have Canadian citizenship or a permanent residence permit. According to this information, visitors will no longer be allowed to fly drones in Canada from June 1, 2019.
An additional precondition for the basic operation of a drone is the acquisition of a flight license (an online test). For advanced drone operations, such as flying in controlled airspace, outside line of sight or in close proximity to persons, a theoretical and practical exam is required.
In addition, the new law stipulates that pilots must be sober while using the drone. This is an interesting addition, which I think I have not seen before in any drone regulation so far.
From 1 June, all drones weighing between 250 grams and 25 kilograms must be registered. There is an online-registration required for each device (for comparison, in the US it is one registration per pilot, no matter how many drones he operates) and will cost kan$ 5. If you do not register your drone, you will be fined kan$1,000 (corporations: kan$5,000). The drone must also be clearly legible and permanently marked with the registration number.
Safety distances and flight altitude
As already today, the law requires that the drone always remains in visual line of sight. The maximum permissible flight altitude will even be slightly increased and in future will be 122 metres (400 feet) instead of the previous 90 metres.
The minimum distance to airports will remain unchanged: it must be at least 5.6 kilometres around airports and 1.9 kilometres around heliports. The distance to people must be at least 30 metres.
The stricter laws seem to be a reaction to the increasing number of incidents caused by drones. In recent years, the number of drone-related incidents close to airports reported by the Canadian Aviation Authority has tripled t, to 135 incidents in 2017.
Implications for tourists
Visitors and tourists will not be able to fly their drones in Canada anymore, aside from toy drones below 250 grams. Stunning aerials from your vacation trip will be thing of the past. There are hardly any serious camera drone below 250 grams – best option for your Canada trip might be the DJI Ryze Tello, which is 80 grams and comes with a basic 5 MP camera (720P video).