2 Canada

Two vertical bands of red (hoist and fly side, half width) with white square between them. An 11-pointed red maple leaf is centered in the white square. The maple leaf has long been a Canadian symbol.

Flag courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Map courtesy of CIA World Factbook

Google Earth

An “Old World” floor mosaic of Europe in the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

Photo courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Canada is a member of ICAO and JARUS.
Last updated on June 14, 2024


According to Britannica, Canada is a constitutional monarchy. The titular head is the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom (locally called the king or queen of Canada), who is represented locally by a governor-general (now always Canadian and appointed by the Canadian prime minister). In practice, however, Canada is an independent federal state established in 1867 by the British North America Act. The act created a self-governing British dominion (recognized as independent within the British Empire by Britain in 1931) and united the colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada into the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. Rupert’s Land and the Northwest Territories were acquired from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1869, and from them Manitoba was created and admitted to the confederation as a province in 1870; its extent was enlarged by adding more areas from the territories in 1881 and 1912. The colonies of British Columbia and Prince Edward Island were admitted as provinces in 1871 and 1873, respectively. In 1905, Saskatchewan and Alberta were created from what remained of the Northwest Territories and admitted to the confederation as provinces. In 1912, the provinces of Quebec and Ontario were enlarged by adding areas from the Northwest Territories. In 1949, Newfoundland and its mainland dependency, Labrador, joined the confederation following a popular referendum (the province was officially renamed Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001). The Yukon Territory (renamed Yukon in 2003) was separated from the Northwest Territories in 1898, and Nunavut was created from the eastern part of the territories in 1999. Thus, Canada now consists of 10 provinces and 3 territories, which vary greatly in size.

All vestiges of British control ended in 1982, when the British Parliament passed the Canada Act, which formally made Canada responsible for all changes to its own constitution. The Canada Act (also known as the Constitution Act) is not an exhaustive statement of the laws and rules by which Canada is governed. Broadly speaking, the Canadian constitution includes other statutes of the United Kingdom; statutes of the Parliament of Canada relating to such matters as the succession to the throne, the demise of the crown (i.e., death of the monarch), the governor-general, the Senate, the House of Commons, electoral districts, elections, and royal style and titles; and statutes of provincial legislatures relating to provincial legislative assemblies. Many of the rules and procedures of Parliament are not laid down in the Constitution Act but are established by (often British) convention and precedent.

The Official Languages Act of 1969 declares that the English and French languages “enjoy equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all the institutions of the Parliament and Government of Canada.”

Federal legislative authority is vested in the Parliament of Canada, which consists of the sovereign (governor-general), the House of Commons, and the Senate. Both the House of Commons, which has 338 directly elected members, and the Senate, which normally consists of 105 appointed members, must pass all legislative bills before they can receive royal assent and become law. Both bodies may originate legislation, but only the House of Commons may introduce bills for the expenditure of public funds or the imposition of any tax. The House of Commons is more powerful than the Senate, whose chief functions include investigation, reviewing government legislation, and debating key national and regional issues.

The governor-general, who holds what is now a largely ceremonial position, is appointed by the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth upon the advice of the Canadian government. The governor-general formally summons, prorogues, and dissolves Parliament, assents to bills, and exercises other executive functions. After a general election, the governor-general calls on the leader of the party winning the most seats in the House of Commons to become prime minister and to form a government. The prime minister then chooses a cabinet, generally drawn from among the members of the House of Commons from that same party. Almost all cabinet ministers head executive departments, and the cabinet, led by the prime minister, develops all policies and secures passage of legislation.

The ministers of the crown, as members of the cabinet are called, are chosen generally to represent all regions of the country and its principal cultural, religious, and social interests. Although they exercise executive power, cabinet members are collectively responsible to the House of Commons and remain in office only so long as they retain its confidence. The choice of the Canadian electorate not only determines who shall govern Canada but also, by deciding which party receives the second largest number of seats in the House, designates which of the major parties becomes the official opposition. The function of the opposition is to offer intelligent and constructive criticism of the existing government.

The Canada Act divides legislative and executive authority between the federal government and the provinces. Among the main responsibilities of the national government are defense, trade and commerce, banking, credit, currency and bankruptcy, criminal law, citizenship, taxation, postal services, fisheries, transportation, and telecommunications. In addition, the federal government is endowed with a residual authority in matters beyond those specifically assigned to the provincial legislatures, including the power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of Canada.

Provincial political institutions and constitutional usages mirror those operating at the federal level. In each province the sovereign is represented by a lieutenant governor appointed by the governor-general in council, usually for a term of five years. The provincial lieutenant governor exercises powers similar to those of the federal governor-general.

Each province holds elections for a single-chamber legislative assembly, from which a premier and cabinet are selected; legislators serve for five-year terms. The provinces have powers embracing mainly matters of local or private concern such as property and civil rights, education, civil law, provincial company charters, municipal government, hospitals, licenses, management and sale of public lands, and direct taxation within the province for provincial purposes. The vast and sparsely populated regions of northern Canada lying outside the 10 provinces, Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, are administered by the federal government, but they elect members to the House of Commons and enjoy local self-government.

A major part of Canada’s constitutional development has occurred gradually through judicial interpretation and constitutional convention and through executive and administrative coordination at the federal and provincial levels of government. Through such devices, the national and provincial legislatures have been able to retain their separate jurisdictions over different aspects of the same matters. Regular meetings of provincial premiers and the federal prime minister are held to discuss federal-provincial jurisdictional issues, generally ensuring an accommodation that gives fair assurances to the aspirations of the provinces without disrupting the integrated national structure of Canada.

Because municipal government falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces, there are 10 distinct systems of municipal government in Canada, as well as many variations within each system. The variations are attributable to differences in historical development and in area and population density. Thus, the legislature of each province has divided its territory into geographic areas known generally as municipalities and, more particularly, as counties, cities, towns, villages, townships, rural municipalities, or municipal districts.

The county system as understood in Britain or the United States exists only in southern Ontario and southern Quebec. County councils are composed of representatives from rural townships, towns, and villages and provide a second level of services for the whole county. This two-tiered municipal government was first extended to urban areas when Metropolitan Toronto was established in 1953. A number of other highly urbanized areas in Ontario have since adopted a metropolitan or regional form of government to deal with common areawide problems. More recently, cities such as Toronto have been further amalgamated with their surrounding districts; at the same time, the number of representative councillors has been reduced.

The more than 4,500 incorporated municipalities and local government districts in Canada have various powers and responsibilities suited to their classification. A municipality is governed by an elected council. The responsibilities of the municipalities are generally those most closely associated with the citizens’ everyday life, well-being, and protection. In addition to local municipal government, there are numerous local boards and commissions, some elected and others appointed, to administer education, utilities, libraries, and other local services.

The sparsely populated areas of the provinces are usually administered as territories by the provincial governments. Aboriginal self-government became an increasingly important issue during the last two decades of the 20th century.

Canadian courts of law are independent bodies. Each province has its police, division, county, and superior courts, with the right of appeal being available throughout provincial courts and to the federal Supreme Court of Canada. At the federal level, the Federal Court has civil and criminal jurisdictions with appeal and trial divisions. All judges, except police magistrates and judges of the courts of probate in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, are appointed by the governor-general in council, and their salaries, allowances, and pensions are fixed and paid by the federal Parliament. Judges serve in office until age 75, at which time they are required to retire. Criminal law legislation and procedure in criminal matters is under the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada. The provinces administer justice within their boundaries, including organizing civil and criminal codes and establishing civil procedure. Since 1982, when the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was incorporated into the constitution, the interpretative role of the Supreme Court has increased significantly.

Civil / National Aviation Authority (CAA/NAA)

Transport Canada is the department within the Government of Canada responsible for developing regulations, policies and services of road, rail, marine and air transportation in Canada. It is part of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities portfolio.


SkyVectorGoogle MapsADS-B Exchange

ICAO countries publish an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). This document is divided into three parts: General (GEN), En Route (ENR) and Aerodromes (AD). ENR 1.4 details the types of airspace classes they chose to adopt from classes A through G.

Canada’s AIP

ATC is handled by NAV CANADA

NAV CANADA manages 18 million square kilometres of Canadian and oceanic airspace. Their air traffic controllers direct planes, either from the cab of a control tower or on a radar screen in an area control center (ACC), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They work with pilots operating all types of planes, from single-engine aircraft to large multi-engine jets. Air traffic controllers ensure aircraft maintain vertical, lateral or time separation, while following strictly defined rules, procedures, and regulations.

Designated Airspace Handbook and other great resources.

Airspace Classification

Photo courtesy of NAV CANADA

Drone Regulations

Regulations may be found on Transport Canada website.

Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (TC AIM) – TP 14371 provides flight crews with a single source for information on rules and procedures for aircraft operation in Canadian airspace. It has been developed to bring together pre-flight reference information of a lasting nature into a single primary document. Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) details may be found on pages 431 to 458.

RPA, otherwise known as drones, have become increasingly popular over the last several years. Advances in technology have made aircraft like these a good tool for conducting inspections, taking photographs, and responding to emergencies but, like any change to a system, the introduction of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPASs) to the National Civil Air Transportation System (NCATS) has created new risks. To mitigate the risks associated with the growing number of RPAS operations, Transport Canada developed Part IX of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), which governs the use of small RPA less than 25 kg and operated within visual line of sight. Part IX of the regulations came into force on June 1, 2019, and created requirements for RPAS operations, including registration, pilot certification, and two operating environments, basic and advanced. All small RPA (250 g–25 kg) are required to be registered and marked, and all small RPA pilots are required to write an exam and obtain an RPA pilot certificate. Advanced pilots also need to pass a flight review. Micro RPA of less than 250 g do not require registration or a pilot certificate, but they must fly in a way that does not pose a risk to aviation or people on the ground.

One fundamental change from other parts of the CARs is the elimination of the distinction between commercial and recreational users. Part IX of the RPAS rules applies to every RPA pilot, regardless of the purpose of their mission. Pilots are responsible for managing risk. RPA are a relatively new entrant into the National Civil Air Transportation System (NCATS) and have created a new risk: collisions between RPA and other aircraft. RPA pilots are responsible for remaining clear of areas where traditional aircraft are operated, but pilots of traditional aircraft should understand the operating environment that Part IX creates for RPA pilots so they can plan their flights in a way that further reduces the risks. Here is a simplified version of the two operating environments:

Photo courtesy of Transport Canada

All RPA pilots, regardless of the operating environment they are in, are responsible for keeping their drone under control and within visual line of sight so that when another aircraft is detected, they will be able to take immediate action to give way. Avoiding a collision is the shared responsibility of all pilots. To further minimize the risk of collision, pilots of traditional aircraft should exercise caution when conducting flights below 400 ft AGL in uncontrolled airspace and take additional care to fly standard circuits at uncertified aerodromes because that is where other airspace users are going to expect aircraft to be. For more information on drones and drone safety, see Transport Canada website.

Transport Canada’s Drone Strategy to 2025

Transport Canada’s Drone Strategy to 2025


CARs – Part IX – RPAS

CARs – Part IX – RPAS

Regulatory text may be found at:

900.01 – Part IX — Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems

900.01 – Division I — General Provisions

900.06 – Division II — General Prohibition

901.01 – Subpart 1 — Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft

901.01 – Division I — General Provision

901.02 – Division II — Registration of Remotely Piloted Aircraft

901.11 – Division III — General Operating and Flight Rules

901.53 – Division IV — Basic Operations

901.62 – Division V — Advanced Operations

901.76 – Division VI — Advanced Operations — Requirements for Manufacturer

901.82 – Division VII — Requirements Related to Flight Review

903.01 – Subpart 2 — [Reserved]

903.01 – Subpart 3 — Special Flight Operations — Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems

Standards may be found at:

921 – Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft in Visual Line-Of-Sight (VLOS)

922 – Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Safety Assurance

Related guidance and services may be found at:

Drone safety

Advisory Circulars 900 Series – Remotely piloted aircraft systems

In Canada, drones are considered aircraft – which makes the operator a pilot. Pilots must start out by reading these basic rules.

Drone pilots must follow the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) Part IX – Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems – which contains most of the rules that apply to drones up to 25 kg.

Drone pilots must always carry with them while operating a drone, a valid drone pilot certificate for drones weighing 250g or more.

Drones must be marked and registered if they weigh 250g or more.



Drone pilots must respect all other laws, such as:

Relevant sections of the Criminal code:

Offenses against Air or Maritime Safety

Breaking and Entering


Trespass act of the province

Laws relating to voyeurism and privacy

It’s worth reading this excellent briefing on privacy for drone pilots.

There are two types of drone pilot operations:

(1) basic,  and

(2) advanced

You need to be 14 years old to get a basic license, and 16 years old to get an advanced license.

Children under 14 years of age (including clubs, camps, and other youth groups) must be supervised by someone with a license.

Self-paced Study Program

You can study the knowledge requirements.

Flight Reviewer’s Guide for RPAS

You can look at getting a drone pilot certificate.

Register your drone. 

Preflight laws.

Report a drone incident

If you are flying under the rules for advanced operations and you wish to operate in controlled airspace, meaning Classes C, D, and E, you need an RPAS Flight Authorization from NAV CANADA.



Transport Canada will fine individuals and corporations for breaking these rules.

Foreign Operators in Canada

Drone Innovation and Collaboration

Drone Strategy to 2025

Canada Parks and Drones

Provinces and Territories of Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador – NF and LB


Prince Edward Island – PEI

Quebec – PQ

Saskatchewan – SK



Many airports around the world are installing drone detection systems. These systems alert air traffic services and authorities of nearby drones in flight that may endanger aircraft on approach and/or departure. While technology that assists in the detection of drones is likely legal in Canada, the use of counter-drone technology to disrupt or interfere with drones in flight is generally illegal. Three of the most common (and all illegal) counter-drone measures include:

1) jamming devices,

2) software exploitation devices, and

3) physical disruption.

Jamming Devices

Jamming devices operate by interfering with, or ‘jamming’, the radio frequency between the controller and the drone and/or the GPS function of the drone that relays its location. If successful, jamming devices often render the drone inoperative.

Sections 4(4) and 9(1)(b) of the Radiocommunication Act prohibit the use, possession, manufacturing, importing, distribution, leasing, offering for sale and sale of jamming devices in Canada. Individuals charged under these provisions can face a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year. Corporations may face fines of $25,000, and in some cases, several millions of dollars per offense.

Though generally illegal for civilians, the RCMP may possess and operate jammers in specific circumstances. On July 2, 2019, an exemption order for RCMP officers entitled the Radiocommunication Act Exemption Order [Jammers – Royal Canadian Mounted Police] came into force. Similar to the exemption that was previously in force since 2015, this exemption allows RCMP officers who are required, as part of their duties or training, to install, use, possess, manufacture or import a jammer for purposes like ensuring national security, public safety and the investigation of offenses. Before use, RCMP officers must notify the Minister of Industry. Further, officers must maintain records of all usage and make every reasonable effort to limit the jammer’s interference with other radio communications.

Software Exploitation Devices

Software exploitation devices target the drone’s software directly, and often allow the attacker to take control of the drone and to obtain access to data from the drone.

Section 342.1 and Section 342.2 of the Criminal Code prohibit counter-drone technology that exploits the drone’s software. Under these sections, it is unlawful to intercept or cause an interception of any function of a computer system and to make, possess, sell, offer for sale, import, obtain for use, distribute or make available a device that is designed or adapted primarily to intercept any function of a computer system. Drones and the associated equipment likely constitute a “computer system” for the purposes of these provisions, rendering these devices unlawful. Penalties under these sections range from summary conviction to an indictable offense with imprisonment of up to 10 years.

Physical Disruption

Physical disruption devices include objects like lasers, nets and projectiles that are used to physically interfere with or intercept a drone.

While these devices are not expressly prohibited by regulation or statute, their use likely constitutes a trespass to the property of the drone owner. There have yet to be a judicial decisions in Canada to confirm this interpretation. Further, it is unclear how a court would handle a case where a drone conducted an unauthorized flight over private property and the property owner used a physical disruption method to interrupt the drone’s flight.


Case study of drone collision in Canada – Aug. 10, 2021 – Cessna 172 and a 15-pound DJI Matrice M210


Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)

Transport Canada’s AAM page

Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium

Update on AAM implementation in Canada

2022 – CAAM and CARTAMS “to develop five year UAM roadmap for Canada”

2022 – VPorts creates electric AAM corridors between Quebec and U.S.

2023 – Jaunt’s Cote joins board of Aero Montreal to help build Quebec as AAM center

2023 – Limosa partners with BAC Aerospace to begin historic Canadian eVTOL certification process

2024 – Collaboration to Increase Autonomy in Advanced Air Mobility Solutions in Quebec

2024 – Vertiko, Jaunt win contract to develop BVLOS drones in Canada


Short Essay Questions

Question 1

You have been hired by a Drone Startup Company. Your boss has immediately assigned this job to you.

They need you to prepare a one-page memo detailing the legalities of using a drone in the city of Toronto.

They need you to mention any national laws and local ordinances.

They specifically want to know what airspace you will be operating in, and whether or not you need an airspace authorization.

Does it matter whether or not you are a citizen of the country?

Lastly, there is a bonus for you if, as you scroll through this chapter, you find any typos or broken links!

Question 2

What are the five conditions that have to be met to qualify for Basic Operations?

How are the conditions for Basic Operations different from Advanced Operations?

Question 3

What do you, as a US drone pilot, need to do to operate legally in Canada?

Question 4

If you are flying with an advanced operations permit, what are five things that you are permitted to do under advanced that you cannot do under basic? 

Question 5

Can you fly a UAV in Gros Morne National Park?

If yes, what do you need to be able to fly there?

Question 6

When is a SFOC-RPAS required?

Question 7

Do you need a certificate to fly UAS?

If so, how do you obtain one?

Are there fees associated with this?

If so, how much?

Question 8

May you operate beyond visual line of sight?

If so, what procedures must you follow?

Question 9

Does the country have UAM/AAM laws? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 10

Are you aware of any new laws or policies not mentioned above? If so, describe, citing the exact law or policy.









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Drones Across the World Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Nilsson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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