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Canada/USA Reciprocal Operation

Questions about Operating an Amateur Station in Canada

Amateur Radio Certificate Information for Canadians

Industry Canada Regulatory Information Circulars:

RAC Logo RBR-4 -Standards for the Operation of Radio Stations
RAC Logo RIC-3 - Information on the Amateur Radio Service
RAC Logo RIC-7 and RIC-8 - Examination question banks
RAC Logo RIC-9 - Call Sign Policy and Special Event Prefixes>
RAC Logo RIC-66 - Addresses and Telephone Numbers of Regional and District Offices
RAC Logo Radiocommunications Information Circulars (RICs)
RAC Logo Electromagnetic Compatibility Advisory Bulletins (EMCABs)

Questions about Operating an Amateur Station in Canada

Q - I hold a CEPT licence. Can I operate inCanada?

A - Yes, provided your CEPT licence was issued by a CEPT member country. See the CEPT permit page on this web site for all the necessary information.

Q - I hold an IARP permit. Can I operate in Canada?

A - Yes. See the IARP permit page on this web site for all the necessary information.

Q - What do I have to do to get a Canadian amateur radio Certificate and call sign?

A - You must pass the Canadian amateur radio examinations and obtain the Certificates which are required for the operating privileges that you desire. You may obtain a Canadian Station Call Sign once you have your Certificate and provided you have a Canadian address for your station. See our web page on How to get Started in Amateur Radio

Information is also available in Documents RBR-4 and RIC-3 available on the Industry Canada web site. Please send questions about documents to

Q - What is the Canadian Licence Fee?

A - There is no Licence fee. Your first call sign is provided free of charge, and any subsequent call signs will cost $60 each.

Q - Where can I find information on Canadian sub-bands and operating modes?

A - Industry Canada no longer mandates sub-bands for Canadian radio amateurs. Canadian amateurs recognize that other countries do, and that cooperation is necessary to avoid problems. RAC has developed compatible band plans, available on this web site. We encourage visitors to comply with these sub-bands and modes.

Q - I have passed my national amateur radio examination whose Morse Code test requirements exceed the Canadian 5 wpm requirement. Will Industry Canada allow me credit for my Morse qualification toward a Canadian Certificate?

A - Credit can be granted if there is an examination reciprocity agreement between your country and Canada. However, such an agreement does NOT exist between Canada and the USA or Canada and the United Kingdom.

Q - My country is not a CEPT member country and is not a signatory of IARP. How do I get permission to operate when I am visiting Canada?

A - You can get permission to operate if your country has a reciprocal agreement with Canada. You can check that on this web site under Reciprocal Agreements or RIC-3 of the Industry Canada documents. If your country has a reciprocal operating agreement with Canada, you can get permission in two ways.

You may apply by mail to

Industry Canada
Amateur Radio Service Centre
P.O. Box 9654
Postal Station T
Ottawa, ON  K1G 6K9

E-mail address
Telephone: 1 888 780-3333 (Toll Free within Canada)
FAX: 1 613 991-5575

You should provide a photocopy of your current licence and state the level of amateur radio qualification you possess. You should state the itinerary for your visit to Canada, giving the dates and addresses where you will be visiting as best as you know them. It is helpful if there is at least one address at which there is someone who will always know how to contact you during your trip. Industry Canada will then provide you with a letter of permission to operate.  Industry Canada has not required payment of a licence fee for visitors operating in Canada. If applying by mail, you should apply as far in advance as possible; at least a month in advance is prudent. Bring your amateur radio licence with you when you come to Canada.

If on arrival in Canada you will be in a city that has an Industry Canada District Office, you can go to the office and apply in person. You must have your licence with you.

If your country does not have a reciprocal operating agreement with Canada and is not a CEPT or IARP member, then you will not be able to operate in Canada unless you write the Canadian amateur radio examinations and obtain a Canadian Certificate and call sign.

Q - I am an amateur radio operator with an amateur radio licence from a country other than Canada. While in Canada I am operating under the reciprocal operating agreement between Canada and my country. If I write the Canadian amateur radio examinations and obtain a Canadian certificate, can I continue to operate under the reciprocal arrangement using my home call sign?

A - No. Once you have obtained a Canadian amateur radio certificate, you must operate using your Canadian call sign with operating privileges in accordance with the Canadian amateur radio qualifications you hold. In general, you cannot use a licence from another country to gain operating privileges in Canada exceeding those permitted by your Canadian certificates.