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Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. What gives an aerial applicator the right to fly over my property?


A. An aerial applicator is permitted to fly over the property, under the authority of Transport Canada and provincial legislation. The airspace itself as defined in the Aeronautics Act is public; its control is under the jurisdiction of Transport Canada. Transport Canada regulates this and makes it available for aircraft to fly in.


The right to Farm Legislation found across Canada also provides aerial applicators with the authority to fly over the property.


Purpose of Right to Farm Legislation

– Urban encroachment on agricultural land

– Nuisance complaints (Odour, Flies, Dust, Noise, Chemical spraying).

- Protects normal farm practices, which are defined: A “normal farm practise” means a practice that is conducted by a farm business in a manner consistent with (a) proper and accepted customs and standards as established and followed by similar farm businesses under similar circumstances, and (b) any standards prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, and includes a practice that makes use of innovative technology in a manner consistent with proper advanced farm management practices and with any standards prescribed under paragraph (b). (Farm Practices Protection Act - Right to Farm)


Q. Who regulates aerial applicators?


A. Two government agencies are primarily responsible for aerial applicators. For the aerial applicator portion, jurisdiction belongs to the corresponding Provincial Ministry of Agriculture. All aerial applicators are required to hold a valid Government of Saskatchewan Pesticide Applicator Licence when applying crop aid products in Saskatchewan. Applicators License expire every 5 years. Pilots re-new through credits banked from attending SAAA Credit Sessions within the past 5 years or by closed book exam.


Q. How low can an aerial applicator FLY?


A. An applicator is permitted to fly at low altitudes under the authority of the Canadian Aviation Regulation 602.15(2)(a)(i), which states a person may operate an aircraft at altitudes and distances less than those specified in subsection 602.14(2) for the purposes of the operation in which the aircraft is engaged, aerial application or aerial inspection.

Q. Why is an Aerial Applicator Circling my yard? 

A. In the interest of everyone’s safety the aircraft may start out by flying over your property when not spraying, to warn and provide occupants with an opportunity to either go inside or leave temporarily. Also the pilot may be surveying the yard for obstacles such as powerline enter or exiting that is difficult to see from an aircraft. Ag pilots are taught to do a circle and evaluate field at  500' for any dangerous obstacles that might put the pilot of the public at risk before diving into the field. 


The Average rural acreage is about 5 acres; this means it is likely 465 ft square. The aircraft which is engaged in spraying advances on average 70 ft. per pass. This means he will fly over your property six times and possibly twice more if trimming is required.

Being that an aircraft is costly to operate and pilots are paid by acres sprayed not by the hour with near certainty an overflying plane is not doing it with the intent to harass.

Q. How do I know if the chemical being sprayed on my neighbour's crop is harmful to my plants and animals?


A. If a product were possibly going to cause damage to your plants or animals when being sprayed, the applicator would have taken this into consideration. He would then take steps to ensure the product does not become a risk to you. If you remain fearful that chemical drift or odours may cause your plants and animals harm you should contact the landowner or applicator for further details.


Q. What time of day do aerial applicators normally fly? Are there restrictions on how early they can fly?


A. Aerial application may happen any time from ½ hour before sunrise till ½ hour after sunset. The time of application is typically most favourable when wind and temperatures are low but maybe dependent on the product being used or pest being controlled.


Q. If I have a concern, what information will I need for the regulators?


A. What will be required may vary based on circumstances. Practical information for accurate assessment such as legal land description, crop producer’s name, aircraft registration, name of application company, time of day etc. will be common requests.


Q. What is the difference between a ‘Non-Certificated’ and ‘Certificated’ aerial applicator?


A. The certified applicator has met specific criteria for the issuance of certification provided by Transport Canada. He may operate across Canada as a commercial enterprise.


A. The non-Certificated applicator has not been certified as having met those specific criteria and must be a farmer, may not advertise, may not go more than twenty-five miles from the center of his farm and the income from his application service may not be greater than that of his tillage of the soil.


Q. Whom do I call if I have a question or concern?


A. If you have questions or concerns it is always best to start by contacting your local operator first. It is helpful to keep in mind that due to the unusual operating schedule of an applicator the best time to make contact is during periods of poor flying conditions.

Should this not yield satisfactory results contacting the appropriate provincial aerial applicators association should be your next step. If they cannot deal with or mediate your concerns, they can direct you to the next appropriate level based on the type of issue.

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