Canadian Drone Law

"There's a drone flying over my property, what can I do?"

(This page is intended for information purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice)

*The Rules of Law outlined here are applicable to ALL drones, regardless of their size and weight!

Reckless or Negligent Operation

Canadian Aviation Regulations Part IX (Section 900.06)

No person shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system in such a reckless or negligent manner as to endanger or be likely to endanger aviation safety or the safety of any person.

 

If you believe a drone is being operated in a reckless or negligent manner, you can report the incident directly to the Government of Canada by following this link...

https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/drone-safety/report-drone-incident.html

Flying Drones Safely & Legally

The full details of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Part IX) for Drone Pilots, and the legal requirements when flying drones in Canada can be found here...

https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/drone-safety/flying-drone-safely-legally.html

In addition to the strict Transport Canada rules and regulations for safe RPAS flying (CARs Part IX), every drone pilot is also subject to Provincial Laws related to Trespass, Nuisance and Privacy, as well as various sections of the Criminal Code.

At Skygate, we are committed to educating people about drone safety and the rules and regulations surrounding drone operations in Canada.

PROVINCIAL LAWS

Trespass

Every intrusion upon the land of another person without permission constitutes a trespass. Therefore, a drone taking off, landing, or crashing on your land without permission is trespass. Landowners have the right to sue for trespass even where they suffer no actual damage.

On the other hand, landowners do not have an absolute right to control all of the airspace above their property. A landowner’s right to control the airspace above their property is limited to a height that is necessary for the ordinary use and enjoyment of the land and the structures upon it. As such, a drone flying over land at a height sufficient to avoid crashing into structures, clotheslines, trees, etc., is unlikely to be considered a trespass violation.

Note: if a drone lands or crashes on your land for any reason, even though it would technically be considered ‘trespassing’, you are legally obliged to return the drone to its owner. Refusal to return the drone to its lawful owner could result in criminal charges or a civil lawsuit being brought against you.

Nuisance

Nuisance refers to a substantial interference with a person’s use or enjoyment of land. In determining what constitutes nuisance, there is no bright-line rule regarding how many times a drone must fly over property, or how low to the ground, or how loud the drone is. Currently, there is no reported decisions by a Canadian court of law in which a drone has been found to constitute a nuisance.

However, if you believe a drone is 'interfering with the use and enjoyment of your land', the best course of action is to ask the drone operator if they can conduct their drone flight at another time that is more convenient to you.

Privacy

All RPAS drone pilots must respect the privacy rights of others and follow the Transport Canada 'Privacy Guidelines for Drone Users', which can be found here...

https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/drone-safety/privacy-guidelines-drone-users.htm

Breaches of privacy, such as unreasonably intruding into a person’s private affairs or publicly disclosing embarrassing private facts about a person, can result in an individual being found liable to pay damages of up to $100,000.00.

While a drone flying above your property does not necessarily constitute an invasion of privacy, the intentional collection of personal information without consent could constitute a violation of privacy laws.

If you believe a drone is breaching your privacy rights, the pilot of the drone should respond with respect and courtesy and should, at the very least, offer to show what media they have captured.

Planning an Event?

Fully Certified & Experienced RPAS Pilots & Support Crew

WILDLIFE

The 'Wildlife Conservation Act' (section 3(1)) restricts 'hunting' or 'harassing' animals with a drone...

No person shall use any air, land or water vehicle to chase, pursue, worry, molest, take, hunt or kill any wildlife.”

Additionally, if a person wilfully flies a drone close to sensitive animals (such as horses in a field or on a highway) and they do so in a manner that can cause the animals unnecessary stress or suffering, the drone operator could also be charged under the Criminal Code regarding cruelty to animals (section 445.1) and for reckless or negligent operation of a drone (CARs IX section 900.06).

 

'Your first course of action should always be to try and communicate with the drone operator/crew to resolve any concerns'

NATIONAL PARKS

All Parks Canada places are “No Drone Zones” for recreational use. Please leave your drone at home.

 

In Canada’s national parks, the landing and take-off of an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) – also known as a drone – is prohibited pursuant to Section 2(1) of the National Parks Aircraft Access Regulations. Flying a drone without park or site approval may result in law enforcement action and a fine of up to $25,000. Learn more about using drones in National Parks here... 

https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/voyage-travel/regles-rules/drones

Additional guidelines for PEI National Parks can be found here...

https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/pe/pei-ipe/visit/visiteurs-visitors/drone

LOCAL BYLAWS

Local municipalities may have bylaws in place which establish ‘No Drone Zones’ to prevent drones (of any size) from being operated from locations used by the general public. These may include parks, public gardens, nature trails, public buildings, city centres etc.. It is the responsibility of the drone operator to comply with these bylaws and obtain the necessary permits to operate drones legally from these locations.

If you believe a local bylaw is being violated by a drone, you should inform the police and report any reckless and negligent operations to Transport Canada using the link above.

THE CRIMINAL CODE

Drone Pilots are required by law to observe certain provisions of the Criminal Code. These include the following: -

    • Endangering the safety of an aircraft or airport (section 77)
    • Operating an aircraft in a manner that is dangerous to the public (section 249)
    • Causing death by criminal negligence (section 220)
    • Causing bodily harm by criminal negligence (section 221)
    • Committing criminal mischief relating to the damage, destruction or interference with the enjoyment of property (section 430)
    • Observing or making a video of a person who is in circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy, where certain conditions are met; (also known as “voyeurism”) (section 162)
    • Engaging in conduct that causes a person to fear for their safety, or the safety of anyone known to them, constituting criminal harassment (section 264)
    • Wilfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or bird (section 445.1)

It is important to keep in mind that in order to be considered “criminal”, there must be conduct that is sufficiently serious.
Accidents, negligence, and even intentional acts of a minor nature will not normally rise to the level of criminality.

If you have reasonable grounds to believe that a drone pilot is violating any of these laws, you should contact the police immediately.

Need Complex Drone Operations?

Safe, Legal and Fully Complaint Drone Services, Anywhere
inspire 2 Real Estate Pro Drone

Drone Law FAQ's

To legally fly a drone in Canada (that has a take off weight of 250g or more) ‘anywhere’ in the open air, the drone operator MUST have the following documentation in place (as an absolute minimum)…

  • A valid Pilot Certificate for RPAS operations (appropriate for the airspace and location)
  • A certificate of RPAS Registration (with the number clearly visible on the drone)
  • Established procedures for pre-flight, take-off, launch, approach, landing and recovery
  • Emergency procedures in place, with respect to…
    • (i) a control station failure
    • (ii) an equipment failure
    • (iii) a failure of the remotely piloted aircraft
    • (iv) a loss of the command and control (C2) link
    • (v) a fly-away
    • (vi) a flight termination
  • A detailed Site Survey
  • A copy of the RPAS Operation Manual
  • A maintenance record for the RPAS

If a drone operator does not have ALL of these documents/procedures in place, then they are NOT operating legally, or in accordance with the Canadian Aviation Regulations for ‘Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems’.

Additional rules for ALL drones (of any size and weight) can be found here…

Recreational drone operators must remain at least 100ft horizontally from the public. For Advanced Professional drone operators, if the people are part of the operation (or bystanders) AND they can be briefed on the safety and emergency procedures for the drone operations, we can operate the drone in and around the location without restrictions. However, to fly drones over people in public (or less than 15ft from the general public), for safety and legal reasons we need to use specialized drone equipment and additional planning, and would typically attach a small parachute to the drone for enhanced safety (and to comply with Transport Canada regulations), more…

Transport Canada require ‘Line of Sight’ operations to be within 500mtrs of the operator/observer. However, with strategically placed observers (who are in direct radio comms with the Pilot), we can operate at greater distances if needed (the signal strength of our drones allow them to be safely controlled from even a few kilometres away), more…

Yes a drone is allowed to fly over moving vehicles, providing the drone does not endanger the safety of people (i.e. by distracting the drivers!), and all Transport Canada CARs Part IX rules and regulations are followed, more…

Absolutely Not! Attempting to interfere with an aircraft in flight is a criminal offense and you will be liable for all damages, even if its flying over your property! more…

No drone, regardless of its size and weight, may be operated in a park without a Special Permit!

Parks Canada have very strict rules about drones operating within a park, there are many sensitive wildlife areas and park visitors expect  to be able to enjoy the park without any safety concerns of drones in the air. You can be fined up to $25,000 for using a drone in a park without a special permit issued by Parks Canada, more…

First call 911 to contact the emergency services.

A drone hitting and injuring a person is a very serious event and the drone pilot will be 100% liable for all damages (easily running into tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars), as well as fines and imprisonment for reckless or negligent operations.

Note: Recreational drone pilots do not typically hold Liability Insurance to cover such an accident, so operating anywhere near people without careful risk planning and safety procedures carries great risks, more…

 

Unfortunately, you do not have any legal ownership rights to the airspace above your property. However, Provincial Laws relating to Trespass, Nuisance and Privacy may be applicable, depending on the drones activities and its location, more…

Why Choose Us

Quality Assurance

Total commitment to quality excellence with a dedicated customer focus

20 Years Experience

Highly skilled RPAS Pilots & Crew and with a 100% Safety Record

World Class Service

$5Million Liability Insurance with cost effective and flexible solutions