VANCOUVER, B.C. — Just in time for the holidays, last month Transport Canada released new exemption requirements for those hoping to fly their UAV without a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC).

Some of the major changes include:

  • A new emphasis on pilot education and training, including examinations and ground school.
  • Difference in drone weight classes
  • Documentation on hand of the exemption, proof of liability insurance coverage, name and address of UAV operator, a copy of the UAV system operating limitations and evidence that the required training has been completed.
  • The pilot must not be farther than one-quarter nautical mile from the UAV.

Transport Canada requires anyone using their drone for commercial purposes – anything outside purely the fun of flying – to either get an SFOC, or meet the new exemption requirements, and carry a minimum of $100,000 liability insurance.

UAV liability insurance policies require compliance with Canadian Aviation Regulations, which translates into increased pressure on brokers to keep clients educated and informed of the recurring changes.

“Since these new regulations have been enacted, we’ve received calls from clients who are concerned that these new changes will heavily impact their businesses,” says Jeffrey McCann, vice president digital strategy at Shaw Sabey & Associates, a private brokerage based out of Vancouver. “The role of the broker is becoming even more important as advisors and council to their clients, many of whom are learning about these changes very suddenly.” 

Shaw Sabey offers the Transport Canada minimum $100,000 liability insurance, though McCann recommends at least $500,000 to cover any lawsuits that could result from drone operations.

Pilots should consult with their brokers to ensure that their coverage is not affected by these regulatory changes.

“Ignorance is not a defense when it comes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations, and whether clients are aware of the new exemption requirements or not, they’re still responsible for the consequences,” cautions McCann.

Media contact

Jeffrey McCann, VP Digital Strategy, Shaw Sabey & Associates

Phone: 604-689-2441



About Shaw Sabey & Associates

Shaw Sabey has been providing British Columbians with risk management services since 1928. In 2010, Shaw Sabey was revitalized under new ownership, promoting the expansion of expertise, services, and our diverse clientele. Shaw Sabey has enjoyed steady financial growth by remaining responsive to ever changing markets and enhancing our appeal to both employees and clients. In 2015, Drone Insurance Depot was formed as a branded entity of Shaw Sabey to exclusively serve commercial and hobby drone clients.