Under the new NPA released by Transport Canada the application of foreign UAV operators working within Canada has been outlined:
As UAVs are considered aircraft, this proposal would maintain consistency with current rules pertaining to
aircraft registration eligibility by limiting operation to Canadian citizens/corporations, except through an
SFOC. This could affect foreign UAV operators operating small UAVs. However, it is also proposed that this
restriction would not apply to UAVs within the Very Small (lower threshold) UAV category, allowing a foreign
UAV operator to operate a very small UAV in Canada. In light of the global context in which there is a growing
potential for UAVs in a variety of applications, Transport Canada will need to consider trade-related
implications of UAV operations.
Under the proposed new regulations foreign operators would be allowed to use Very Small (lower threshold) UAVs, however for larger systems or for working with less restrictions they would be required to obtain an SFOC.
It should be noted that the SFOC process will still exist under the proposed new regulations and will be used for edge cases that do not fall within the new categorization structure.
Since the proposed rule does not abolish the Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) process, the existing requirement for an SFOC for UAV operations will be retained. The SFOC will be available to UAV operators for all other types of UAV operations that are not captured by the proposed rule (e.g. testing and development flights in restricted airspace test sites, UAVs larger than 25kgs, beyond visual line-of-sight operations, etc). There may also be individual cases where a UAV operator meets the proposed rule in every respect, but because the operation is so specialized, they would need operational approval through an SFOC. Examples of such operations could include participating in an air show, operating at aerodromes, etc.