Bill 118 takes the next step

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has released its public consultation process with the announcement of a website to add comments in regards to Bill 118.

As the background document does not specifically make reference to two-way radio communications RAC will be making inquiries as to what is the government’s intent.

Does this mean that all two-way radios are exempt as they don’t meet the criteria of “hand-held wireless communication devices” or does it mean that two-way radios could fall within the proposed legislation?

If the explanation comes that two-way radios are not included then we can all continue to enjoy our hobby and participate in helping our communities through services including ARES, CANWARN and others.

If the explanation goes the other way….RAC, in cooperation with other interested parties will be creating and encouraging a coordinate, forceful and compelling campaign in support of the lawful use of amateur radio equipment in moving vehicles in the province of Ontario.

We should know more in a few days time.

1 Response to “Bill 118 takes the next step”

  • I have already sent my comments to my MPP and they have been spoken to on the floor of the Legislature by John Yakabuski – MPP – Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke. (See Hansard)

    Below is a copy of the relevant part of a column which was in part about the issue, which I sent to him and he spoke to.

    29 MHz and Up – January-February 2009

    Traveling with ham radio

    Here we go again with more regulations.
    There seems to be a trend over the last couple of years for the provincial governments to try and legislate common sense.
    A few people trying to text message whilst driving at 120 kilometres per hour in heavy traffic have led the ivory tower crowd to introduce a law against idiocy.
    Ontario is the latest jurisdiction to introduce laws against using a non-hands free cell phone while driving. However, in their haste to keep applicants for the Darwin Award from killing themselves or other innocent bystanders, they seem to have gone overboard – again.
    The language of the proposed new law is very broad and could be read to include the use of two-way radios while on the road.
    RAC has assured us they are working on the problem and hope to have us exempted by regulations to be enacted by the bureaucrats after the law is passed. I have worked enough in the legal and political arenas to know that such regulations can change on a whim without much notice.
    I, for one, would feel much more comfortable, if the exemption was contained within the legislation itself.
    A simple amendment would solve our problem and those of a number of other radio users all at the same time, without endless specific regulations that police officers would have to interpret and the court challenges that will no doubt ensue.
    I propose this simple one line amendment to the proposed law.
    “Communication apparatus or persons licensed to operate under the Canada Radiocommunications Act are exempt.”
    This would negate the need to make separate amendments for police, fire, commercial users, and others who might need to be specifically named under the proposed law or regulations.
    In all cases, either the person, the equipment or both are licensed under federal law.
    It would also avoid any challenges to the law over federal – provincial jurisdictional issues.
    Since neither cell phones nor their users are actually licensed, they would not be exempted.
    However, if any of the exempted people abused common sense, they too could be charged for careless or dangerous driving under already existing laws.
    I think virtually all of us are smart enough to hang up the mike and not try and adjust our equipment under dangerous conditions, and most amateur operators pre-program their gear for any trip, requiring an absolute minimum of fiddling to change frequencies as they move from area to area.
    I doubt there are any statistics to show that ham radios are in any way responsible for increases to the carnage we see on our highways.
    Quite the opposite, I know there are many documented situations where ham radio has proven to be a life-saver on the road. Our record in providing emergency communications is unimpeachable.
    In order to continue to provide this public service, we need to constantly test our equipment and proficiency. We also need to be encouraged to equip our vehicles with amateur equipment and maintain it in top operating condition. A law which would put us in jeopardy simply by possessing such equipment and using it, would definitely discourage many from installing it in the first place.
    The stupid actions of a few irresponsible people should not endanger the century-long record of public service and responsible operation that amateurs possess.
    The same is true of police, fire and most commercial users like taxis and radio-equipped commercial vehicles.
    All of us deserve such a simple amendment and those trying to enforce the new law also deserve such clear, unambiguous guidelines.
    While this legislation only affects Ontario at the moment, such an amendment would provide a clear and simple precedent for other jurisdictions to follow when formulating their own laws to regulate cell phone use on the road.
    Today it is Ontario but you can be sure the rest of the provinces without such rules, are watching the progress and implementation of this law, with an eye to doing the same.

    Hope that might be helpful

Leave a Reply