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Using A Drone In Canada: Basic Pilot Requirements

Using A Drone In Agriculture

There are many differing opinions of what needs to be done to use a drone in Agriculture. I am going to talk to you about the legal requirements in Canada. Many people think It is too hard to get a drone license; this is not the case at all!

Before I go on, when I use the term "drone" in this article it will refer to:

RPAS – Remotely Piloted Aircraft System

UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle 


Transport Canada made new regulations for drones that took effect in June of 2019. There is now a system where:

  1. no license is required if drone is under 250g
  2. Advanced license required if any of the basic requirements are not met
  3. basic license required: 

  • You fly it in uncontrolled airspace
  • You fly it more than 30 meters (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 

What Does That Mean To You?

Most agricultural drone flights will meet the requirements for a Basic license. To get you license you follow these steps: 

  1. Login to the drone management portal on Transport Canada’s website
  2. Write and Pass the SMALL BASIC EXAM – 35 questions in 90 minutes, pass with 65%.
  3. Each attempt costs you $10 to write. If you do not pass, you can try every 24 hours.
  4. Print your pilot certificate – basic operations after passing the exam. Carry it with you when you fly
  5. Register your drone with transport Canada ($5) if your drone is over 250g
  6. Mark your drone with registration number before you fly
  7. Proof of recency must be confirmed: every two years or less you must complete a recurrent training program, safety seminar endorsed by TC, or complete a self paced study program 

What About Drones Under 250g Like The Mavic Mini?

Transport Canada states for drones under 250g: “Do not need to register your drone. You must not operate your drone in a reckless or negligent manner as to endanger or be likely to endanger aviation safety or safety anyone”

Other Interesting Points!

  • You can not pilot a drone while you are driving a boat or vehicle. You can be the rider in a vehicle and pilot the drone as long as VLOS is maintained and you are able to see the neighbouring air space.
  • You can only fly below 400 feet AGL
  • You can not fly over forest fires or accident scenes
  • Some urban areas have additional bylaws pertaining to flights
  • VLOS = visual line of sight must be maintained at all times
  • It does not matter if you are flying for personal or commercial use
  • you need to be 14 years old to get a basic license and 16 years old to get an advanced license. Children younger than 14 must be supervised by someone with a license for events

Transport Canada drone safety:



Drone management portal:


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