Using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) on campus

Over the last several years technology in the aviation industry has grown rapidly including the increasing use of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) for research, commercial and recreational purposes. A UAV has been defined by Transport Canada as “a power-driven aircraft, other than a model aircraft, that is designed to fly without a human operator on board and is required to operate in accordance with a Special Flight Operations Certificate.” Transport Canada regulates the use of UAVs to ensure both public safety and privacy.

Does the Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) apply to me?

For most work or research applications involving a UAV, you must hold a SFOC. Some exemptions may apply based on weight and speed of the UAV. You can visit the following link to find out if you require permission from Transport Canada to fly your UAV.

On campus at McMaster University you will always require a SFOC to operate your UAV due to the presence of the helipad. The application for a SFOC can be found at the following link.

Before operating your UAV you should also visit the following link to learn about the Transport Canada DO’s and DON’T’s for flying safely and legally.

If you have any questions regarding the use of your UAV please contact the Environmental and Occupational Health Support Services (EOHSS) department at extension 24352 or