Flying drone as a foreigner in Canada?

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Dec 3, 2017
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#1
Hello,

I'll be traveling to Canada for work where I'm making a corporate video for a client. The client requested a drone shot of his restaurant in Vancouver, and a shot of Vancouver itself

Anything that comes up for a foreigner looks like you need to apply for a Special Flight Operation Certificate. I researched such a certificate and I'm baffled by the requirements. I don't have time for the training (only there for a week), nor do I have the money to spend on the insurance just for the two shots I need.


I did read that foreign pilots are able to fly in Canada as long as it's for fun...

If I take a small shot from across the city (so in a rural area), and use this shot for the video.. will it come back to bite in my ass?
 
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#2
I am sure you have already seen this: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/opssvs/flying-drone-safely-legally.html

Just follow the above for a shot of vancouver. You may not have to venture very far to meet those requirements if you search for an isolated spot and plan ahead of time. Be careful about the restricted airspaces if in and around downtown/airport. This is pretty helpful: AirMap Web App

I doubt there is a workaround for a shot of the restaurant itself unless you get and SFOC. If you end up in the air without one (Just thinking realistically here, coz people do it anyway) just be extra extra extra extra extra careful. Alternatively, try calling Transport Canada and see if they have something to add other than get an SFOC.
 
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#3
"I did read that foreign pilots are able to fly in Canada as long as it's for fun..."
Yes but you're not flying for fun, you're flying to make a corporate video for a client, this means that you'll need a work permit to enter Canada in the first place. Secondly regardless of which country you're operating in, since you're using a drone for commercial purposes, you need to have a commercial drone license. While holding a commercial drone license you can easily apply for a Canadian Special Flight Operation Certificate.
So what it seems you're saying is the following:

You own a drone.
You don't have a commercial drone license.
You use your drone for commercial purposes anyway.
You're intending to enter Canada to work.
You may or may not have a work permit to enter Canada.
You intend to fly your drone for commercial purposes in Canada.
You need to have a Special Flight Operation Certificate to operate a drone commercially in Canada, however you have no intention of getting one and are trying to see if you can skirt the law by "Flying it for fun".
You've misread and misunderstood the requirements for drone operations in Canada and now think you can shoot in a "rural" area to get the shot you want without having to fulfill the legal requirements.

Tell you what, you fly that drone in Canada for business purposes and not only does it put you at risk from prosecution from Transport Canada, it also puts your client at legal risk for hiring you (a non qualified or legal pilot) in the first place. It will also put you at serious risk with customs and immigration in Canada. You could effectively be banned from entering Canada in the future for working without the proper legal documentation. I would honestly advice your client to hire a local & legal drone pilot for the shots that he wants.
 
Joined
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#5
"I did read that foreign pilots are able to fly in Canada as long as it's for fun..."
Yes but you're not flying for fun, you're flying to make a corporate video for a client, this means that you'll need a work permit to enter Canada in the first place. Secondly regardless of which country you're operating in, since you're using a drone for commercial purposes, you need to have a commercial drone license. While holding a commercial drone license you can easily apply for a Canadian Special Flight Operation Certificate.
So what it seems you're saying is the following:

You own a drone.
You don't have a commercial drone license.
You use your drone for commercial purposes anyway.
You're intending to enter Canada to work.
You may or may not have a work permit to enter Canada.
You intend to fly your drone for commercial purposes in Canada.
You need to have a Special Flight Operation Certificate to operate a drone commercially in Canada, however you have no intention of getting one and are trying to see if you can skirt the law by "Flying it for fun".
You've misread and misunderstood the requirements for drone operations in Canada and now think you can shoot in a "rural" area to get the shot you want without having to fulfill the legal requirements.

Tell you what, you fly that drone in Canada for business purposes and not only does it put you at risk from prosecution from Transport Canada, it also puts your client at legal risk for hiring you (a non qualified or legal pilot) in the first place. It will also put you at serious risk with customs and immigration in Canada. You could effectively be banned from entering Canada in the future for working without the proper legal documentation. I would honestly advice your client to hire a local & legal drone pilot for the shots that he wants.
You're right. Will look more into the SFOC.
 
Likes: DJMc
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#7
Hey @kweeni
I used to live in downtown Vancouver and I didn’t really feel comfortable flying my drone there (or anywhere in the city for that matter). Too many buildings and too many people. I’m a stock photographer and know the city and it’s suburbs enough for visual interest (plus I love to explore and walk!) and I’m gonna tell you anywhere you go will feel crowded. I have a some photos and videos (including timelapses of weather and city buildings) available for stock if you’re interested. Good luck!

Here’s a photo I took that shows the skyline against the North Shore Mountains
Tonight in Vancouver: The World's Most Livable City
 
Likes: IrishmanPDX
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#8
I've been to Vancouver, BC several times (it's a couple hours drive from Seattle) and there very few spots there that meet those recent requirements. Very busy city, so I would be really extra careful. Add the extra legal requirements since it's a commercial video and it does sound like a no-go. As already recommended, better get someone local for that.
Just my 2c.
 
Likes: IrishmanPDX

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