Transport Canada UAV NPA Review Part 2 – VERY SMALL UAV (LOWER THRESHOLD)

The VERY SMALL UAV (LOWER THRESHOLD) can be seen in a lot of ways as bringing the recreational UAV sector under the proposed regulations, and opening up some small scale commercial use.

Transport Canada is considering whether to establish a “lower threshold” or very small UAV category that would be regulated to a lesser extent due to its nature and operating environment, and the lowered risk of damage that the aircraft would cause to a person and property on the ground and other airspace users in case of incident.

It is expected that the vast majority of recreational users would be captured under this category, as well as aerial photography operations for real estate and other small business purposes. As TC expects that all pilots have the requisite knowledge to operate safely, a basic knowledge test would be required, as well as basic identification requirements to assist in accident and enforcement investigations.

UAV Operator Certificate Requirements:

  • an adequate management organization;
  • a method of control and supervision of flight operations;
  • pilot training programs;
  • security procedures;
  • a maintenance control system;
  • a company operations manual;
  • standard operating procedures.

Aircraft Marking and Registration:

  • UAVs NOT required to be registered.
  • Required to have permanent marking for identification (e.g. pilot name and contact information) on their UAV operating in this category.

Personnel Licensing and Training:

  • not required for pilots to obtain a pilot permit or medical certificate
  • no minimum age requirement, min 16 without adult supervision
  • required to demonstrate aeronautical knowledge in specific subject areas, such as airspace classification and structure


  • UAVs not required to meet a design standard.
  • required to follow any maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  • required to conduct a pre-flight check to ensure that the aircraft is in a fit and safe state for flight before take-off.

General Operating and Flight Rules:

In addition to some of the rules proposed in the Small UAV (complex operations) category:

  • daytime only.
  • uncontrolled airspace only.
  • 5nm (9 km) from aerodromes .
  • maximum altitude 300′ AGL.
  • no restrictions in regards to built-up areas.

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