Ontario’s Bill 118 to ban cell phone use in vehicles in motion has had its third reading in the Ontario Legislature and as expected only emergency responders have received an exemption.
This was expected.
The Bill now returns to staff to work out who else should be exempted and why. Radio Amateurs of Canada, speaking on behalf of all licensed amateur radio operators in Ontario, will be invited to consult with ministry officials on the creation of supporting regulations.
Voting on the completed Bill is not expected until the fall of this year.
Speaking on behalf of RAC I (Peter – VE3HG) can say that ministry contacts have always said that it was never the intent that the Bill should impact two-way radio transceiver type communications such as takes place in amateur radio, CB, taxi or delivery vehicles.
Now that intent maybe limited to wired in radio systems that have microphones attached to the equipment. This may, and I emphasis MAY, have an impact on the use of handi-talkies as it would be almost impossible for a police officer to be able to distinguish between a handi-talkie and a cell phone. On the positive side, many emergency responders use handi-talkies and we may well have a strong argument that can be made in our on behalf. Time will tell.
Having said all that, there are no guarantees, however, now is not the time to approach members of the Legislature or the minister as they will not have seen the changes which are likely to be written in to the Bill in the next few months.
If exemptions are not forthcoming, then there may well be a need for direct communications but that time has not arrived.
Again I’d invite interested members of Ontario’s amateur radio community to keep in touch with Radio Amateurs of Canada and I’d be pleased to receive any emails directly to firstname.lastname@example.org