For those who have asked (and asked... and asked) regarding this issue, here is some information to clear it up.
You do not require any special licenses, permits or authorization to purchase, possess or use a Digital Scanner in Canada.
No application form exists to allow one to apply for such a license, and despite what certain Toronto-area amateur radio retailers have been telling their customers over the years, you do not need to be an amateur radio operator, paramedic, government official or be in possession of a current CPR and/or First Aid certification to purchase one.
Here is where the confusion started......
On November 27, 1996, Industry Canada released IPC-2-1-04
, an Internal Procedures Circular entitled "Licensing of Digital Scanner Receivers."
(available to view here: http://www.muircom.com/scnrpics/digiscanner.pdf
In this circular, it states that Section 5 of the Radiocommunication Act
gives Industry Canada the authority to issue "authorizations for Radio Communcations."
The circular also states: "In an effort to protect the privacy of individuals, users of digital scanner receivers capable of receiving radiocommunication must obtain a licence as prescribed in the
Radiocommunication Act. This does not include digital scanner receivers capable only of the
reception of broadcasting."
The justification for licensing comes from the fear that new technologies (presumably digital scanners) would compromise the privacy 'of consumers'
. What exactly they are referring to is anyone's guess.
The circular also states that digital scanner licenses would only be issued, (decided on a case-by-case basis), to those:
(a) preserving or protecting life and property which includes providing emergency assistance;
(b) investigating or prosecuting an alleged contravention of any law of Canada or a province, or when intended to be in the interests of the administration of justice;
(c) managing the radio-frequency spectrum for the purpose of identifying, isolating or preventing an unauthorized or interfering use of a transmission;
(d) ensuring the security and integrity of communications and communications systems;
(e) conducting the business of any communication station or system through which such communication is transmitted or received;
(f) carrying out international affairs, national defence or security on behalf of Her Majesty in the right of Canada; or
(g) operating radio apparatus in the amateur radio service.
Those who do not meet these guidelines would be considered, but only
if they were able to show proof that it is in the common interest that a license be issued to them.
That was 1996, and to date no other relevant information has been released from Industry Canada regarding the licensing digital scanners.
Before people start screaming that the wording in this circular exempts them from owning a digital scanner, read the paragraph on page two of the circular:
Internal Procedures Circulars are issued for the guidance ofdepartmental staff. Although intended for internal use only, they are also available to the public. The information contained in these circulars is subject to change without notice. It is therefore suggested that interested persons consult the nearest district office of Industry Canada for additional details. While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure accuracy, no warranty is expressed or implied. As well, these circulars have no status in law.
Several members of both RR and Scanont have contacted Industry Canada over the past thirteen years trying to get information on the status of digital scanners in Canada. Various answers have been received, ranging from denying that a license is required, to vehemently stating that you must
possess a license.
One such correspondance in 2006took place between a member of Scanont and a Caroline Kennedy, an Eastern Ontario Spectrum Management Officer with Industry Canada. In her email to the Scanont member, Ms. Kennedy provided a link (http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst...g/sf01264.html
) with information on how to apply for a digital scanner license. The link is currently dead. Ms. Kennedy also stated that, by 2006, only 'two' digital scanners have been licensed in Canada (she would not divulge who owned the licenses), and stated that licenses would absolutely not be issued unless the aformentioned criteria was met.
Adding to the confusion, RSS-135, a Radio Standards Specificiations sheet entitled "Digital Radio Scanners" (also dated in 1996) (http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/vwapj/rss135.pdf/$FILE/rss135.pdf), which states that digital scanners absolutely require a license.
So what does all this mean? It's simple: vague mentions of a license in thirteen year old circulars, nor decrees from employees of the Federal Government do not make for public policy. So far, no one has produced either one of two things:
a) Legislation stating that a license or permit is required to possess or purchase a Digital radio scanner
b) A definitive process for applying for a Digital Scanner License (such as an application form)
So, until these conditions are met, digital scanners continue to be safe to buy and use in Canada, and do not
require a permit.
As soon as Mike Oxlong is able to, he will be making this post a sticky. Hopefully it will help those who still have questions regarding the legality of Digital Scanners in Canada.