Traditionally, amateur radio operators were issued two separate authorizations; an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate and a radio station licence. The Amateur Radio Operator Certificate was issued for life and had no fee associated with it, while the radio station licence was issued on a yearly basis and a licence renewal fee was charged.
Effective April 1, 2000, Industry Canada has combined these documents into one authorization, the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate. This certificate is the sole authorization required to operate amateur radio apparatus in the amateur radio service.
Although it is no longer necessary for amateurs to renew their licence annually, they are required to inform Industry Canada of any changes in their mailing address.
How to Obtain an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate
All administrative activities for amateur radio, e.g. the issuance of amateur radio operator certificates and call signs, changes of mailing address and requests for special event or special prefix call signs, are carried out from a central location: the Amateur Radio Service Centre.
If you are the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate issued before April 1, 2000, you may obtain a new certificate with a call sign by completing the application form available on our Internet Web site.
If you are not currently an amateur radio operator but wish to become one, please consult the Radiocommunication Information Circular 3 (RIC-3).
There are two means by which an individual may obtain the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with Basic, Morse code, and Advanced Qualifications. They may:
- be examined by an accredited examiner; or
- be examined at the local district office of Industry Canada.
Accredited examiners are available in many areas throughout Canada to provide both Morse code and written examinations on behalf of Industry Canada. They may be contacted through amateur radio clubs, technical schools or the Amateur Radio Service Centre.
Information regarding the accredited examiner program can be found in the Radiocommunication Information Circular 1 (RIC-1).
How to Obtain a Call Sign
Complete the Application and Report for Amateur Radio Operator Certificate and Call Sign, which is available from the Amateur Radio Service Centre.
Please note that a call sign in the amateur service can only be issued to a person who holds an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with Basic Qualification.
When completing the section, "Personal Choice of Call sign", please consult the Amateur Radio Operator Cetificate Services website at to confirm what call signs are available. This will increase the chances of your being assigned the call sign of your choice. If you do not indicate your choice of call sign, or if none of your three choices are available, you will be automatically issued the next available call sign.
The call sign will be issued using a prefix based on where the applicant resides. Prefixes currently used for assignment are in accordance with the following table:
|VE1 VA1||Nova Scotia|
|VE7 VA7||British Columbia|
|VY2||Prince Edward Island|
*VE0 call signs are only intended for use when the amateur radio station is operated from vessels that make international voyages.
The application must be sent by mail, fax or e-mail to the Amateur Radio Service Centre.
For detailed information on the Call Sign Policy and Special Event Prefixes, please refer to RIC-9.
A fee is not required for the issuance of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate in accordance with the following:
- to issue an initial station call sign and Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with Basic Qualification;
- to issue a replacement certificate due to loss or damage;
- to issue a replacement certificate with a new call sign, due to a change in address to a new province or territory; and
- to issue a replacement certificate as a result of obtaining an additional qualification such as Morse code, or Advanced.
A fee of $60.00 is required for the issuance of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate in accordance with the following:
- to change an existing call sign (including changing to a two letter call sign);
- to issue a call sign to the station of a club or other organization;
- to issue an amateur radio operator an additional station call sign; and
- to issue a special event or special prefix station call sign.
How to Operate your Amateur Radio Station
Please refer to the Regulation by Reference (RBR-4).
The Radiocommunication Information Circular 3 (RIC-3), , provides information on various international agreements and arrangements related to amateur radio operation.
Canada has negotiated a number of reciprocal operating agreements that allow Canadian amateurs to operate their stations while temporarily visiting other countries, and also allow foreign visitors to operate in Canada on a reciprocal basis.
Amateur Radio Service Centre Contact Information
For additional information, please contact the Amateur Radio Service Centre: