Summary of Regulations

The following references were used in preparing the information for this document:

  1. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations.
  2. Radiocommunication Act (RA). (Canada)
  3. Radiocommunication Regulations. (RR). (Canada)
  4. Radio Information Circular 1 (RIC-1). Guide for Examiners Accredited to Conduct Examinations for the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate.
  5. Radio Information Circular 2 (RIC-2). Standards for the Operation of Radio Stations in the Amateur Radio Service.
  6. Radio Information Circular 3 (RIC-3). Reciprocal Operating and Third Party Traffic Agreements and Arrangements in the Amateur Radio Service.
  7. Radio Information Circular 7 (RIC-7). Basic Qualification Question Bank for Amateur Radio Operator Certificate Examinations.
  8. Radio Information Circular 9 (RIC-9). Call Sign Policy and Special Event Prefixes.
  9. Radio Information Circular 24 (RIC-24). Information on the Amateur Operator's Certificate Examinations
  10. CEPT Amateur Radio Licence (T/R 61-01 E).

Summary of the IC Regulations

  1. The authority to make Radiocommunication Regulations is derived from the Radiocommunication Act.
  2. Authority to make Standards for the Operation of Radio Stations in the Amateur Service is also derived from the Radiocommunication Act
  3. The Department that is responsible for the administration of the Radiocommunication Act is Industry Canada.
  4. The amateur radio service is defined in the Radiocommunication Regulations.
  5. In addition to complying with the Radiocommunication Act, the Radiocommunication Regulations, Canadian radio amateurs must also comply with the regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
  6. ITU Radio Regulations requires the administration of the various membership countries to take such measures as they judge necessary to verify the operational and technical qualification of amateurs.
  7. The ITU Radio Regulations limit those radio amateurs, who have not demonstrated proficiency in Morse code to frequencies above 30 MHz.
  8. Canada along with the rest of North and South America is in ITU Region 2.
  9. Australia, Japan and Southeast Asia are in ITU Region 3.
  10. Europe, Africa and the former Soviet Union are in ITU Region 1.
  11. If a Canadian amateur operates his/her station in another country, he/she must comply with that country's rules and regulations. Sort of when in Rome do what the Romans do.
  12. There are three different qualifications that you can obtain in amateur radio. They are:
  1. The Basic Qualification is the only one that will allow you to be issued your Amateur Radio Operator Certificate, even if you have all the other qualifications, you must obtain the Basic Qualification in order to qualify for the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate.
  2. You may take the qualifications in any order. You will not attain operating privileges however, until you obtain your Basic Qualification.
  3. The now defunct Amateur Digital Radio Operator’s Certificate equates to having the Basic and Advanced Qualifications.
  4. When issued your Amateur Radio Operator Certificate, it is valid for life.
  5. Once you have obtained your Amateur Radio Operator Certificate, you are authorized to operate a radio station in the amateur service according to the restrictions of that certificate.
  6. In July of 2005, Industry Canada modified the requirements for operating within the HF bands as follows:
    1. Morse code will no longer be the sole additional requirement by which Canadian radio amateurs will gain access to the HF bands, but it will remain as one valid criterion.
    2. Amateurs showing superior knowledge of operational, technical and regulatory requirements by attaining an 80% score on the basic exam or passing the advanced exam, will also be granted access to the HF bands.
    3. "Grandfathering" of existing amateurs will be based on the following criteria:
    1. Amateurs certified after April 1, 2002, who have demonstrated a superior knowledge of operational, technical and regulatory requirements by achieving a mark on the basic examination of 80% or above will be allowed to operate in the HF bands below 30 MHz.
    2. Amateurs certified prior to April 2, 2002 will be allowed to operate in the HF bands below 30 MHz based on the experience and knowledge they have acquired over this period of time.
    3. Amateurs holding basic and advanced qualifications will be allowed to operate in the HF bands below 30 MHz.
  1. Radio apparatus may be installed, placed in operation, repaired or maintained by the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with Basic, Basic plus 5 w.p.m. or Advanced Qualification on behalf of another person if the other person is the holder of a radio authorization to operate in the amateur radio service. You may not install, put in operation, modify, repair, maintain or permit the operation of a radio apparatus for a person who does not have a radio authorization to operate in the amateur service.
  2. It doesn't matter how little the power output of a transmitter is, it must be licensed at all locations.
  3. An amateur station may only communicate with similarly licensed stations.
  4. The holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with the Advanced Qualification may build transmitting equipment for use in the amateur radio service.
  5. There are no age restrictions for applying for an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate.
  6. The Amateur Radio Operator Certificate must be retained at your station.
  7. When you change your postal address you must inform Industry Canada with in 30 days of your new postal address.
  8. The holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate may install or operate radio apparatus at any location in Canada.
  9. Amateur radio operators must use only the minimum legal transmitter power necessary to communicate.
  10. An amateur with Basic, or the Basic plus 5 w.p.m. Qualification is restricted to a maximum of 250 watts DC input power to the anode or collector circuit of the final RF stage of the transmitter (560 watts PEP output for SSB signals) on all bands.
  11. An amateur with an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate plus the Advanced qualifications is restricted to a maximum 1000 watts DC (2250 watts PEP when using SSB) power input to the anode or collector circuit of the final RF stage of the transmitter on those bands that his/her qualifications allow.
  12. Power measurements are made at the antenna terminals of the transmitter or amplifier.
  13. When operating on all frequencies below 148MHz the frequency stability of the transmitter must be comparable to crystal control.
  14. A reliable means to prevent or indicate overmodulation must be employed at an amateur station if radiotelephony is used. The maximum percentage of modulation that is allowed using radiotelephony is 100 percent.
  15. All amateur stations, regardless of the mode of transmission used, must be equipped with a reliable means of determining the operating radio frequency.
  16. An amateur radio station that automatically re-transmits the signals of other amateur radio stations is known as a repeater.
  17. Radiotelephone signals in a band below 29.5 MHz cannot be automatically retransmitted, unless these signals are received from a station operated by a person qualified to transmit on frequencies below the above mentioned frequency.
  18. Radiotelephone signals may be retransmitted in the 29.5-29.7 MHz band and in all the VHF/UHF bands when received from a station operating in a VHF/UHF band from a person with only the Basic qualification. Retransmission of a signal received from holder of a Basic only qualification operating in the VHF/UHF bands is not allowed below 29.5 MHz.
  19. An unmodulated carrier may only be transmitted for brief periods below 30 MHz. This is usually for station adjustment purposes.
  20. In order to install any radio apparatus, to be used specifically for receiving and automatically retransmitting radiotelephone communications (repeaters) within the same frequency band, a radio amateur must hold an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with a minimum of the Basic and Advanced Qualification.
  21. In order to install any radio apparatus, to be used specifically for an amateur radio club station, the radio amateur must hold an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with a minimum of the Basic and Advanced Qualification.
  22. In order to install or operate a transmitter or RF amplifier that is not commercially manufactured for use in the amateur service, a radio amateur must hold the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with the minimum of the Basic and Advanced Qualification.
  23. The holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate must comply with the authority that that certificate bestows on the operator and station owned by the operator.
  24. Both the station licensee and the control operator are responsible for the proper operation of an amateur radio station and normally this is the same person, you, however if you are using someone else’s station, then both of you are responsible for the proper operation of the station.
  25. As a station owner, you are responsible for the proper operation of the station in accordance with the regulations. A control operator may be any qualified amateur chosen by the station owner. A station must have a control operator whenever the station is transmitting, be it yourself or someone qualified chosen by you, the owner. The control operator must be at the stations control point.
  26. The owner of an amateur station may allow anyone to operate the station under the supervision and in the presence of the holder of the amateur operator certificate. This is known as third party communications and you must continuously monitor and supervise the third parties participation.
  27. If you allow another amateur with additional qualification than yours control your station he/she is only allowed the operating privileges of your Amateur Radio Operator Certificate.
  28. If you are the control operator of a station of another amateur who has additional qualifications to yours, you are allowed the operating privileges of that additional qualification.
  29. A transmission that disturbs other communications is called harmful interference. You are not allowed to disturb another station’s communications.
  30. In the event of interference to a neighbor’s radio receiver, stereo, VCR, TV set or other "radio sensitive equipment" capable of receiving RF signals, if the field strength of the amateur station is below 1.83 volts per meter, it will be deemed that the affected equipment’s lack of immunity is the cause, however if the field strength of the amateur station exceeds 1.83 volts per meter, it will be deemed that the amateur’s transmission is the cause of the problem.
  31. Radio-sensitive equipment is considered to be "any device, machinery or equipment, other than radio apparatus, the use or functioning of which is, or can be, adversely affected by radiocommunications emissions". These may include electronic organs, microwave ovens, furnace controllers and a host of other non-radio type of equipment.
  32. Where interference to the reception of radiocommunications is caused by the operation of an amateur station, the Minister may require that necessary steps for the prevention of the interference be taken by the radio amateur.
  33. If regulations say that the amateur service is a secondary user of a frequency band, and another service is a primary user, this means amateurs are allowed to use the frequency band only if they do not cause interference to primary users. Two of the bands where the amateur service is secondary users are 440.0 to 450.0 MHz and 902 to 928 MHz. There are several other bands above these lowest two where the radio amateur has secondary user status. See Schedule 1 of RIC-2 later for the other bands.
  34. If two amateur stations want to use the same frequency at the same time, it should be remembered that both station operators have an equal right to operate on the frequency and some arrangement should be worked out to avoid conflict.
  35. Out of band operations is not allowed by any amateur radio operator.
  36. A radio amateur may not operate, or permit to be operated, a radio apparatus, which he knows is not performing to the Radiocommunication Regulations tolerances.
  37. A person may operate or permit the operation of a radio apparatus only where the apparatus is maintained to the Radiocommunication Regulations tolerances. These standards are the performance standards set by Industry Canada regulations and policies.
  38. No person shall possess or operate any device, for the purpose of amplifying the output power of a licence-exempt radio apparatus.
  39. A person may operate an amateur radio station when the person complies with the Standards for the Operation of Radio Stations in the Amateur Radio Service.
  40. While in Canada, the station licensed by the government of the United States shall identify his station by:
  1. When communicating with a foreign country, only messages of a technical nature or personal remarks of relative unimportance should be sent.
  2. Amateur radio communication should only be of a technical or personal nature. You are not allowed to:
  1. No person shall send or cause to be sent a false, fraudulent or deceptive signal. Such as MAYDAY when no such emergency exists.
  2. No person shall decode an encrypted subscription programming signal without permission of the lawful distributor.
  3. No person shall, without lawful excuse, interfere with or obstruct any radio communication.
  4. A person found guilty of transmitting a false or fraudulent distress signal, or interfering with, or obstructing any radio communication, without lawful cause, may be liable, on summary conviction, to a penalty of a fine, not exceeding $25,000, or a prison term, or both.
  5. The holder of a radio authorization shall, at the request of a duly appointed radio inspector, show that radio authorization, or a copy thereof, to the inspector, within 48 hours of the request.
  6. A duly appointed radio inspector may request to inspect a radio station. The person in charge of a place entered by a radio inspector shall give the inspector information that the inspector requests. Where entry is refused, and it is necessary to perform his duties under the Act:
  1. The Minister may suspend a radio authorization, upon notice and with the opportunity to make representation thereto:
  1. The minister may suspend or revoke a radio authorization WITHOUT NOTICE where the holder has failed to comply with a request to pay fees or interest due.
  2. The following one-way communications are authorized in the amateur service:
  1. Any abbreviation may be used as long as it doesn't obscure the meaning of the communication.

Exceptions from penalties under the Radiocommunications Act

  1. The following are exceptions from penalties under the Radiocommunication Act:
  1. Amateur radio stations may communicate with any station involved in a real or simulated emergency.
  2. In the amateur radio service, business communications are only permitted if they are for the safety of life or immediate protection of property.
  3. If you hear an unanswered distress signal on an amateur band you should offer assistance.
  4. In the amateur radio service, it is permissible to broadcast radio communications required for the immediate safety of life of individuals or the immediate protection of property.
  5. An amateur radio station in distress may use any means of radiocommunications.
  6. During a disaster, an amateur station may make transmissions necessary to meet essential communications needs and assist relief operations when normal communication systems are overloaded, damaged or disrupted.
  7. During an emergency, there are no limitations to an amateur radio stations output power.
  8. During a disaster, most communications are handled by nets, using predetermined frequencies in the amateur bands. Operators not directly involved with disaster communications are requested to avoid making unnecessary transmissions on or near frequencies being used for disaster communications.
  9. Messages from recognized public service agencies may be handled by amateur radio stations during peace time and civil emergencies and exercises.
  10. It is permissible to interfere with the working of another station if your station is directly involved with a distress situation.


  1. The operator of an amateur station shall not accept nor demand any remuneration in any form, in respect of a radiocommunications that the person transmits or receives.
  2. There are no fees associated with the issuing of your Amateur Radio Operator Certificate or any of you upgrades, or the issuing of a new call sign if you move to another province or your Amateur Radio Operator Certificate is lost or destroyed.


  1. The fee for taking an examination given by an accredited examiner is to be negotiated between the accredited examiner and the candidate.
  2. The fee for taking examinations at Industry Canada is $20 per qualification.
  3. An accredited examiner must hold the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with Basic, 5 w.p.m. and Advanced qualifications.
  4. Examinations for disabled candidates may be given orally, or tailored to the candidate’s ability to complete the examination.
  5. A disabled candidate must pass a normal radio amateur certificate examination before being granted any qualification.

Station Identification:

  1. An amateur radio station must use his call sign to identify his station at the start and the end of a communications with another station and at intervals no greater than 30 minutes during an ongoing communication.
  2. You must use your call sign to identify your station. There is no requirement to use the other station’s call sign in your communications. Each station must transmit its own call sign.
  3. The only exception for not using your call sign is when the transmission is telemetry, digital or similar type of transmission to a radio control model. These types of transmissions are only allowed on amateur bands above 30 MHz.
  4. Call signs are to be sent in English or French, either one of Canada's two official languages.

Third Party Communications:

Amateur third party communications is the transmission of non-commercial or personal messages to or on behalf of a third party. These are messages sent to a non-amateur via an amateur station.

  1. A message originating from the Canadian Forces Affiliated Radio Service (CFARS) or the United States Military Radio System (MARS) are not considered to be third party messages, even though the messages originated from a non-amateur.
  2. A person operating a Canadian amateur station is forbidden to communicate with amateur stations of another country when that country has informed the International Telecommunication Union that it objects to such communications.
  3. International communications on behalf of third a party may be transmitted by an amateur station only if the countries concerned have authorized such communications.
  4. If a non-amateur friend is using your station under your control and supervision to talk to someone in Canada, and a foreign station breaks in to talk to your friend, you must ask your friend to wait until you find out if Canada has a third party agreement with the foreign station's government.

Antenna/Tower Installations:

Antenna structures have become a concern in many communities and as a result are regulated by various authorities in communities across Canada. Concerns can also be raised by neighbors, and their concerns should also be considered when planning antenna or tower installations. Gone are the days when we could do basically what we want to do.

Antennas are classified as two types as far as their physical structures and locating are concerned and as a result, different rules apply.

Industry Canada is not normally involved with Type 2 structures but local land-use authorities and your neighbors may be of concern to you. You should contact both your local land-use authority and your neighbors before any antenna installation, and if you fail to do so, you must accept any consequences for your actions.

The following statements cover all the questions on this subject in the Basic Question Bank.

  1. There is no requirement to receive prior approval from Industry Canada to construct an antenna or its structure.
  2. Prior to an installation of an antenna or structure, for which community concerns could be raised, radio amateurs should consult with their land-use authority.
  3. Industry Canada expects radio amateurs to address community concerns in a responsible manner and to consider land-use authority requests.
  4. If a radio amateur erects an antenna structure without consulting the land-use authority, he/she must accept any consequences.
  5. For the purpose of environmental filing, amateur stations are considered to be Type 2 (non- site specific).