In Canada, drones are governed under the Canadian Aeronautical Regulations (CAR) Part IX - Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPASs). In the CAR Part IX, drone operations are divided into Basic and Advanced operations, irrespective of the commercial or non-commercial intent of the flight. In the USA, the dichotomy is commercial vs. non-commercial. Big difference.
Advanced operations, such as flights in controlled or restricted airspace, or flights near or over people, require the operator to have an current Advanced RPAS Pilot License, and that the aircraft be of a type approved by Transport Canada for the advanced operation. In controlled or restricted airspace, approval for the flight is required from NavCanada, as well as from any special authority for any restricted airspace.
Even in uncontrolled airspace, a horizontal separation of 30m (100’) must be maintained between your aircraft and any third party on the ground, unless you have an advanced license, and an aircraft approved for use near people.
No mini-drones have been approved for advanced operations!
True, if your drone is under 250g you can fly it as an unlicensed operator, but you are restricted to basic operations. Stay away from controlled or restricted airspace, and stay away from people (including the neighbors in a subdivision, and that guy in a canoe in front of the cottage you are photographing).
Fines for offenses in Canadian airspace under CAR Part IX start at $1000 ($5000 for a corporation) and are stackable! Let’s look at the guy in the canoe, if he complains. Advanced operation without an advanced pilot certificate ($1000), aircraft not suitable for flying near people ($1000), endangering a person or aircraft ($3000), for a total of $5000 ($25000 for a corporation). If the enforcement officer is really pissed off, there are at least another half-dozen offenses he can lay charges for.
Now, think about the brokerage if this was a real estate shoot. The brokerage is ultimately responsible for your actions during the shoot. What do you think their reaction is going to be when they (a corporation!) get charged because you wanted a cheap drone to fly! I am sure they will think nothing of the extra $25000 you cost them for the shoot!
Don’t believe the idiots who claim that using a mini drone exempts you from CAR Part IX. Invest the time and energy to get your Advanced license, fly a real drone approved for advanced operations, and do it right!
One further word! There is a rumor going around (might be apocryphal) that Transport Canada is looking to a crackdown. Something about reviewing MLS listings, looking for aerials, checking the addresses against controlled airspace, then checking the NavCanada database looking for Flight Authorization Requests for the addresses. The fines would more that pay the salaries of the summer students they would employ to do this. Cross you fingers. Maybe the rumor isn’t true.