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New RAC bulletin logo November 2019Distracted Driving Regulations in Canada Update:
February 23, 2020

Links to Regulations in Canada

Richard Ferch, VE3KI
RAC Regulatory Affairs Officer

In light of the recent decision by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to make permanent the exemption for two-way radios for commercial drivers and Amateur Radio operators, we have reviewed the regulations in Canada and, to the best of our knowledge, the exemptions in all other provinces and territories are “permanent” (i.e., with no defined end date).

The one exception is Nunavut, where there is apparently no exemption – although the text of the exemption in some other cases may be somewhat ambiguous and open to interpretation.

These regulations are made and enforced by Provincial and Territorial governments and can vary considerably from province/territory to province/territory and over time and are subject to change.

For immediate release:

Distracted driving regulations continue to be an area of interest for many Canadian Radio Amateurs.

These regulations are made and enforced by provincial governments and can vary considerably from province to province and over time.

In Ontario, RAC Directors Allan Boyd, VE3AJB (Ontario North/East) and Phil McBride, VA3QR (Ontario South) have been working hard on this issue.

We are pleased to announce that effective February 14, 2020, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has “made permanent the exemption under Ontario Regulation 366/09 (Display Screens and Hand-Held Devices) of the Highway Traffic Act for hand-held two-way radios for commercial drivers and Amateur Radio operators.”

Section 13(1) of the Ontario regulation states:

(1) Drivers who hold a valid radio operator certificate issued under the Radiocommunication Act (Canada) may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a two-way radio.

The regulation is available online at: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/090366

The official publication of the amendment to the regulations is also available online at:

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r20018

The key item mentioned in the amendment is as follows:

“5. Subsection 13(2) of the Regulation is revoked.”

This indicates that the former subsection 13(2), which was the previous time limit which was set on the exemption for the handheld use of two-way radios has been removed.

English:

Amendment: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r20018

Regulation: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/090366

French:

Amendement : https://www.ontario.ca/fr/lois/reglement/r20018

Règlement : https://www.ontario.ca/fr/lois/reglement/090366

For more information about Distracted Driving Regulations in Canada please see the links below and visit our Distracted Driving webpage.

 

Distracted Driving Regulations in Canada: Links

Alberta:

English:

Section 3(1): Pursuant to section 115.1(1) of the Act, an individual who holds a radio operator certificate issued under the Radiocommunication Act (Canada) may drive or operate a vehicle on a highway while holding, viewing or manipulating a 2‑way radio communication device.

British Columbia:

English:

Section 9 (“hand microphone” is defined in section 3(2)):

9 A person may use a hand microphone while driving or operating a motor vehicle on a highway if

(a) the device is within easy reach of the driver’s seat, and

(b) is securely fixed to the motor vehicle or worn securely on the person’s body in a manner that does not obstruct the person’s view of the front or sides of the motor vehicle or interfere with the safety or operating equipment of the motor vehicle.

Manitoba:

English:

Section 215.1(5):

215.1(5) Subsection (2) does not apply to the use of

(a) a radio apparatus, as defined in section 2 of the Radiocommunication Act (Canada), that

(i) is operated under the authority of a radio operator certificate issued under that Act,

Newfoundland and Labrador:

English: (French)

Section 176.1(4)(b):

176.1 (4) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the use of

(b) a device that is linked to a non-public shortwave radio communication system.

New Brunswick:

English: (French)

Section 265.03(e):

265.03 Section 265.02 does not apply to a person

(e) who uses a two-way radio while operating a motor vehicle on a highway if that person is the holder of a radio operator certificate issued under the Radiocommunication Act (Canada),

Northwest Territories:

English/French:

Schedule B, item 6:

May be used on any road as long as the transceiver is mounted to the motor vehicle and the user is lawfully authorized to use the transceiver (for all services including commercial services, the General Radio Service (GRS), General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Amateur Radio Service).

Nova Scotia:

English:

Section 100D(1) (two-way radios not included):

100D (1) It is an offence for a person to use a hand-held cellular telephone or engage in text messaging on any communications device while operating a vehicle on a highway or operating a personal transporter on a roadway or a sidewalk.

Nunavut:

English:

Section 239.1: No exemption found

Ontario:

English: (French)

Section (13)1:

(1) Drivers who hold a valid radio operator certificate issued under the Radiocommunication Act (Canada) may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a two-way radio.

Prince Edward Island:

English:

Section 291.1(4)(b):

291.1 Hand-held devices holding or use prohibited while driving

(4) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the use of

(b) a device that is linked to a non-public shortwave radio communication system.

Quebec:

English: (French)

The official online document, “What the Law says”, states under the heading “Exceptions”, second bullet:

The prohibition from holding a hand-held device that includes a telephone function does not apply: in the case of a two-way radio, that is, a device that does not allow the parties to speak simultaneously – also known as a walkie-talkie, mobile transceiver, two-way portable radio or two-way transceiver

Saskatchewan:

English:

The third column of the PDF document states: two-way radios are not included in the definition of “electronic communications equipment” in the Traffic Safety Act.

Yukon:

English/French:

Section 88.2(2):

88.2 (2) A person who is a fully licensed driver may, despite subsection 210.1(2) of the Act, use a two-way radio that is an electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on a highway, provided that the person does not use it in a telephone function or for transmitting or receiving electronic mail or other text-based messages.