Future Opportunities for Drone Solutions in Canada’s Northern Territories

The northern territories of Canada are some of the most remote places on Earth. Largely comprised of forest and tundra, they’re home to a small, isolated population and notoriously difficult to reach by traditional transport. But there’s a solution on the horizon.

Drone technology has the potential to connect these remote communities to the rest of Canada, expanding access to life-saving medical services, and revolutionizing local industries. In short, drones can help unlock economic opportunities in the region, and usher in a new era of economic growth.

The Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities

The northern region is comprised of Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Together, they account for around 48% of Canada’s total land but less than 0.5% of its population. The area is home to just 120,000 people, a large proportion of whom are Indigenous.

With vast areas of icy, uninhabitable terrain, it’s not hard to see why the region is so sparsely populated. Traditional transport methods can be expensive and unreliable, with most freight arriving by air, water, or temporary roads that are only open over the winter. As a result, communities in these territories endure a high cost of living (particularly when it comes to imported food), and often have to make long journeys to access medical care.

At the same time, however, the northern territories are rich in natural resources that could transform their economy, including minerals, oil, natural gas, and diamonds. With the help of drone technology, communities in the region can capitalize on this potential, as well as overcome geographical challenges in other local industries such as forestry, transportation and wildlife management.

Economic Growth

Drones have the ability to cover large areas of land and water quickly, offering a swift alternative to boats and seasonal road vehicles and significantly enhancing supply routes. By bringing down the cost of essential imports, drone deliveries release discretionary income to boost the local economy.

In industries such as mining, drones can be used for surveying and inspections as well as making deliveries, reducing manual labor costs and driving efficiencies. When it comes to forestry, drones can tackle data capture, mapping and fire detection, saving valuable time and money.

Improved Infrastructure

One of the biggest challenges facing the northern territories is its infrastructure. The nature of the land—cold, barren, uninhabitable—puts plenty of obstacles in the way. Drones, however, offer a powerful solution. They can be equipped with sensors and cameras to conduct aerial surveys and map the terrain, as well as forming the backbone of new supply routes to transport goods and supplies to previously hard-to-reach areas.

Enhanced Emergency Response Capabilities

When disaster hits, time is of the essence—but the more remote the region, the harder it is to deliver the medicines and emergency supplies that people need. Integrating drones into emergency response operations can therefore be a lifesaver.

Not only are drones uniquely capable of soaring over obstacles such as debris and flash floods to deliver critical supplies, but they can also provide real-time aerial images of the area to assist emergency responders on the ground. Drones also have a part to play in search and rescue operations, using thermal imagery and laser technology to help identify survivors.

Environmental Monitoring

The northern territories of Canada are home to vast areas of forest, as well as precious wildlife. The Edéhzhíe National Wildlife Area and Dehcho Protected Area in Northwest Territories, for example, aims to protect species including the lesser snow goose, the tundra swan and the woodland caribou. Thanks to their ability to cover large areas of land quickly and easily, drones can help track wildlife, map vegetation and detect pollution, as well as transport supplies and samples to and from the region.


Integrating drone technology does come with certain considerations. Initial investments include not only the hardware but also sophisticated software, training for operators, and infrastructure for charging and maintenance. Regulatory compliance is another key non-negotiable wherever you happen to be operating: safety and privacy are paramount, and drone companies need to adhere to regulations in order to avoid collisions in the sky and to safeguard the privacy of customers, as well as residents below the flight path.

Given the unique challenges of the region, there are also local nuances. It’s essential to engage with local communities and community elders to communicate the benefits of drone technology and address any concerns they may have. Technology selection is also important, with operators having to take factors such as icy weather conditions and long distances between charging stations into account.


Thanks to the power of drone technology, Canada’s remote northern territories are poised to become a little less remote. Drones have the potential to drive economic growth, improve infrastructure, enhance environmental monitoring and transform emergency relief in the region.

Drone Delivery Canada has successfully pioneered drone technology in remote regions, with the company partnering with the Moose Cree First Nation in Ontario in 2019. Get in touch with our team to find out how you can harness the potential of drone technology to drive economic growth in Canada’s northern territories.