VICTORIA -- A British Columbia-based company says it is the first in Canada to receive approval to use drones as a cargo shipping service.

InDro Robotics, based on Salt Spring Island, announced Monday that it is the first company ever to receive approval from the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) to ship goods under 10 kilograms.

"This permission until now has only ever been issued to airlines and paves the way for (literally) much wider range of drone use," said Philip Reece, CEO of InDro Robotics Inc., in a release Monday.

"We have had several successful missions carrying medication and other health-related items to remote areas," he said. "This new licence means we can ship anything up to 10 kg (other than people and animals) - important documents, artwork, jewels - basically anything a manned aircraft could."

In August 2019, InDro made history after it delivered prescription drugs from Duncan, Vancouver Island, to Salt Spring Island. It completed the unprecedented six-kilometre journey over the Pacific Ocean in 11 minutes, according to the company.

CTA has approved InDro to delivery goods up to 25 kilometres away. According to Reece, the company is already researching ways to fly their drones up to 200 kilometres for deliveries.

"We believe in the very near future our aircraft will be able to travel further and with more weight load, expanding drone capabilities," he said.

Reece says that the company is also speaking with Island Health, air operators and other regulators about ways to use drone technology to support the health-care system amid the COVID-19 pandemic.