Ont. Ham gets OPP Bill 118 Ticket

An email from an Ontario RAC member claiming he’d received a ticket from the OPP  for using his amateur radio VHF radio while driving on Highway 407 last Thursday got our immediate attention.

Our RAC member said that officer who issued the ticket was apparently unaware of the three-year time limited exemption that amateur radio operation was granted in Ontario’s distracted driving legislation Bill 118. It was the same story when our member called the unit sergeant. The sergeant asked about the nature of the conversation prompting thoughts that perhaps the sergeant was referring to the fact that a cellphone can be used by a motorist in a moving vehicle when making a 911 call.

An email from RAC to the duty sergeant at the General Headquarters for the Ontario Provincial Police that pointed out the exemption in Bill 118 was forwarded to the highway unit sergeant.

Over the weekend our member received a telephone call from the OPP sergeant and it seems the situation has been resolved to our member’s satisfaction (no ticket).

Folks: This is what you get for your membership dollars when you join RAC. I’m not promising we can intervene so quickly in every situation (or that every situation will be so clearly easy to resolve) but this is a prime reason why you should join or renew your RAC membership today.

And BTW for all mobile amateur radio operators in Ontario it might save some time and confusion if you carry a copy of your license and a copy of Bill 118 in your vehicle just in case you too get stopped.

3 Responses to “Ont. Ham gets OPP Bill 118 Ticket”

  • Hats off to you guys and I intend on renewing, I have been a member on and off for a few years when my budget permits, as well as working for a HAM radio store off and on in Whitby that promotes RAC through Book sales & advertising. I would like to point out that it is unfortunate that Amatuer Radio operators are not fully exempt and should in my opinion have been exempt indefinately on this issue (not just for 3 years or so). What are we to do when the time is up? Sell our mobile gear? I am hoping that somehow this regulation is changed to exempt us and our gear as I will have a hard time having bluetooth technology on the 6 Amateur radios I have in my truck. Other provincial juristictions and US states havce not adopted any of this in regards to Amateur Radio and I fear we are setting a terrible first example here in Ontario for mobile use of HAM radio in the future.

    Again great job helping out, and hopefully we can get some permanent changes to benefit us in the future.


    Sean Dickinson VA3VEC / VE3YUF Brighton Ontario.

  • Joseph Verdirame

    Hello Peter,

    Subsequent to reading this news on the blog, I had a QSO with the RAC member in question and obtained further clarification on this issue. It appears the member has received not one, but two tickets, from two different police services! What was even more surprising to me was the fact that the police officers involved were convinced that the amateur radio exemption applies only when we are passing emergency traffic! Clearly our folks in blue have not been briefed properly on the exexmption, and we have a problem.

    This morning another ham menntioned to me that only a few days ago, while driving in the GTA, a plainclothes police officer motioned to him to put his microphone down. So it seems that these are not isolated incidents. With the misconceptions held by our police services about this new law, there will no doubt be many more people charged by well-meaning but woefully misguided police officers.

    This begs a critical question: would it not be a good idea for RAC’s Honorary Legal Counsel to make written representation to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and to the Chiefs of Police of Ontario to make them aware of this unsatisfactory situation?

    All of this could be avoided by properly briefing officers about the exemption (which, last time I checked, is not only for hams!). This briefing should not be done “on the job” at our members’ expense. :)

    Thanks for all that you do.

    Joe, VE3LNU

  • This just goes to show what hams should prepare themselves for when the 3 year grace period ends! Good Luck.

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