Bill 118 – Comment suggestions

This (slightly edited) piece comes from Alasdair Robertson, VE3RAA, the executive director of the Canadian Association of Rally Sport which is one of the other amateur-radio related groups that has joined with Radio Amateurs of Canada and the Toronto FM Society to fight any impact of Bill 118 on Ontario hams.

Comment from our members is good. I would suggest that we ask them to make the following points:

1. A recognition that Amateur Radio is safe and reasonable activity in a car.

2. A recognition that Amateur Radio deserves at least equal standing to CB, taxi, tow-truck radios, etc.

In support of these points, our members should make the case that:

1. Amateur radio should be specifically exempted by the regulations for Bill 118. "Drivers holding a valid amateur radio operator license issued by Industry Canada and using a half-duplex two-way radio."

2. Amateur radio operators are federally licensed and highly trained; unlike CB, taxi, tow-truck and other operators likely to be exempted in the regulations.

3. Amateur radio operators are an essential communications link in cases of natural or man-made disaster.

4. Amateur radio operators are an essential communications link at community, sporting, and public service events.

5. Amateur radio operators are currently exempted from anti-cell phone legislation in various other jurisdictions in recognition of the important public service they offer.

I would further suggest that no mention be made of:

1. Contesting.

2. Complex transmission modes, including CW, or any complex equipment installations.

3. The daily commute ‘rag-chew’

To add to what Alasdair is suggesting:

It is important that we ask STAY ON MESSAGE. It is entirely counter productive to make some other case than what has been circulated to ministry staff, the minister’s office, and to our supporters at Queen’s Park. It is also important that any materials we provide ARE NOT simply cut and pasted into an email by dozens of people.

Each response should provide the same message, but it shouldn’t be identical. Personal stories of public service ("I’m an ARES member who…" or "I provide communications for the…") would be very useful.

It would also be very useful if the presidents of the various clubs responded on behalf of their members, including references to their areas of coverage and number of members. We want to show that we are province-wide and include many people.

Above all, we want to present ourselves as calm, reasonable men and women who are conscious of our responsibility to operate our cars and our radios safely.

2 Responses to “Bill 118 – Comment suggestions”

  • Jim Baldwin-VA3WIN

    Mr. Johnson-MPP Victoria/Haliburton:

    As a licensed amateur radio operator, member of Radio Amateurs of Canada and a trained Canwarn ( severe weather weather reporting network) operator, I am concerned about the interpretation of Bill 118 and how it may impact licensed amateur radio operators.

    Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES), a network of trained communications volunteers have, in the past, been essential in handling emergency and priority radio traffic (messages) when other services have been cut off due to i.e. ice storms ( remember 1998?), floods and other disasters.

    If Bill 118 prevents amateur radio operators from using their mobile communications radios then, the general public is at risk regarding timely assistance during any further storms, floods or disasters.

    I urge you to press for clarification regarding Bill 118 to preserve the logic of employing the help of a huge body of volunteers whose mandate is to offer communications assistance free of charge using their own equipment in times of need.


    Jim Baldwin-VA3WIN

    35 Grandview Drive, RR# 4
    Omemee, ON K0L 2W0


  • Ministry of Transportation


    I saw this post and would like to comment on it. In accordance with bill 118 the ONLY exemptions are police, fire, and ambulance drivers using interface dispatching, along with radio and telephony dispatching. I do agree with you however, in the aspect of “Volunteer Emergency Radio Coordinators/Operators”. The problem is that no matter who you are (emergency services or not) being distracted while driving causes numerous accidents and numerous deaths every year. Should they be exempt, yes they need to do their job, what they are paid by our cities to do. I believe that Ham radio operators are in the same boat, however ONLY in extreme cases where emergency situations arise.
    Since the implementation of Bill 118 I pulled over a commercial vehicle for using interface dispatching systems while driving. It goes against the companies CVOR and remains on their cvor permanently. Unfortunately the likeliness of Radio operators being fully exempt is is not likely as the operation of such devices are not mandatory, and practicing can be done on the individuals time, where emergency services and buses cannot “practice” their radio operations at home. I believe that the Volunteer services ham radio operators provide is a very important service but its not a requirement. What it comes down to is that Ham radio operators are a big help during emergency situations, but day to day are not required nor are they any less of a distraction regardless of the training any person has recieved.


    Ministry of Transportation
    Perth District

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