Drone innovation and collaboration

We are working to safely integrate drones into Canada’s transport system. We’re doing this through trials and test sites, and through partnerships with key Canadian and international organizations.

Find out what we’re doing to support drone safety and innovation in Canada.

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Improving service delivery for commercial drone operators

In 2017, we opened a Centre of Expertise to focus on processing Special Flight Operations Certificate ( SFOC ) applications. The Centre of Expertise is based in Dorval, Quebec and has staff in each Transport Canada region.

Helping operators to gain flight experience and test their systems

In February 2018, we invited industry to create concepts of operation (ConOps) for beyond-visual-line-of-sight ( BVLOS ) operations.

Industry members applied to be one of up to four BVLOS trials in 2018-19. These trials will allow operators to gain flight experience and test their systems. They will also inform potential BVLOS regulations in the future.

Four organizations were selected for these trials:

  • Canada Post will explore the deployment of drones in Canada’s remote and rural regions.
  • Canadian UAVs will conduct a long-range pipeline survey in Western Alberta to prove the feasibility and capability of using a ground-based radar system.
  • Drone Delivery Canada will explore using drones for the safe delivery of food and medical services in Moosonee, Ontario.
  • ING Robotic Aviation will conduct a trial to perform infrastructure surveys in western Canada with support from key partners.

Collaborating at home

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) traffic management services testing – Call for proposals

RPAS Traffic Management (RTM) is an air traffic management ecosystem of services. In this series of tests, Transport Canada is looking for proposals from innovators that will help set the requirements for, and the deployment of services needed for Canada’s RTM system.

Call for research and development projects

We have launched, jointly with the National Research Council of Canada’s ( NRC ) Aerospace Research Centre, the Consortium for Aerospace Research ( CARIC ) and Innovation in Canada, and the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Quebec ( CRIAQ ), a call for project ideas to further strengthen Canada’s foothold in the drone industry.

The goal of this program is to promote Canadian development of research and technology related to:

  • Detect and Avoid (DAA) systems
  • Command and Control (C2) link robustness
  • human injury probability
  • human injury severity
  • drone detection

Through collaborative research activities, the outcome of this program will help inform Transport Canada’s regulatory framework to promote safe and economically viable drone use in Canada.

Transport Canada’s remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) project







Video and transcript

Transport Canada’s RPAS project is a contribution to the integration of this technology into Canadian airspace and the regulatory development for Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations.

Drones in the Canadian Arctic

Drones could soon be used to monitor Northern Canada’s safety, security and environment as part of the Arctic Unmanned Aircraft System Initiative. To prepare for this, we conducted several flight trials during the spring of 2019.

Drones, whales and highways

We are using drones to help with North Atlantic Right Whale monitoring in Gaspé and a Beluga whale survey in Mackenzie Bay.

We’ll also use drones to help make a map of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway and the Dempster highway from Inuvik to the Yukon border.

This work will help us develop a regulatory framework by increasing what we know about BVLOS operations in Canada.

Drone test ranges

We have approved 2 drone test ranges in Canada:

These test ranges support research and development in the drone industry.

Both test ranges have access to restricted airspace. They are safe environments for operators to do tests without putting others at risk.

Drone Talks: Planning for Success summary report

Drone Talks: Planning for Success was a two-day workshop event held on May 29 and 30, 2019. It focused on tackling key RPAS issues and challenges; and planning for future success in Canada and abroad through early meaningful discussion with industry stakeholders.

The report summarizes what we heard from stakeholders on key topics such as:

  • Airspace and RPAS Traffic Management ( RTM )
  • Beyond Visual Line of Sight ( BVLOS ) operations
  • Airworthiness and certification
  • Pilot licensing and training

To request an electronic copy of the report, please email the RPAS Task Force directly at: TC.RPASInfo-InfoSATP.TC@tc.gc.ca.

Collaborating abroad

International Civil Aviation Organization ( ICAO )

Canada is a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization. As a participant, we can learn from other countries’ experience regulating drones. Standards developed at ICAO help improve the safety of aircraft in Canada.

Regulatory Cooperation Council ( RCC )

Since 2015, Transport Canada and the Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA ) in the United States have collaborated in the area of drones under the Regulatory Cooperation Council ( RCC ). RCC participation has helped Canada and the United States harmonize regulations and promote business.

We share information on four aspects of drone safety:

  • rule-making activities
  • outreach, compliance and enforcement
  • research and development
  • international collaboration and advancing common interests

Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems ( JARUS )

Canada is a member of the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems. JARUS members are representatives from national aviation authorities of over 50 countries and international organizations.

As a participant in JARUS sessions, we can stay up to date with global trends in drone regulation and technological development.