Bill C 118- 3 year exemption for Amateurs

Todays news from the Minsitry of Transportation is questionable…  The first thing that come to mind is…

What the heck were they thinking????

Hands free Amateur Radios???  even funnier…  Hands Free CB Radios????  and I’m sure some of the companies like Motorola will be lining up to build a new line of private-commercal radios just for use in Ontario… (YA RIGHT…)

On the brighter side of things we do have 3 years to continue operating our existing equipment which means that events like the Canadian Ski Marathon and other large scale public service events that need communications have 3 years to figure out how they are going to do things without mobile communications.

It seems almost ironic that we get this news on September 30th and on October 3rd amateurs in Ontario will be assisting Emergency Management Ontario with the Province Wide Simulated Emergency Test.  I am sure that some ARES Groups will have to need to operate mobile for parts of this exercise and with todays news I am wondering how many more people will invest their hard earned dollars on mobile equipment that they will be severly restricted on using.

The link to the Ministry of Transportation/Goverment of Ontario Site with this press release is here.

The complete article is also posted below…

Bob is not impressed…



Ontario’s New Rules For Hand-Held Wireless And Entertainment Devices

September 30, 2009 10:39 AM

As of October 26, 2009, Ontario’s new distracted driving law will make it illegal for motorists to use hand-held wireless communication devices or any hand-held electronic entertainment devices while driving.This includes hand-held cell phones, texting and e-mailing.

Hands-free devices will still be permitted.

This new law also prohibits viewing a display screen unrelated to the driving task such as laptops or DVD players while driving.


The new law applies only to hand-held wireless communications and hand-held electronic entertainment devices.  This means drivers must only use wireless devices that can be used in a “hands-free” manner:

  • a cell phone with an earpiece or headset using voice dialling, or plugged into the vehicle’s sound system
  • a global positioning system (GPS) device that is properly secured to the dashboard or another accessible place in the vehicle
  • a portable audio player that has been plugged into the vehicle’s sound system.

Some wireless devices require that users push a button to activate and/or deactivate the device’s “hands-free” function.  This activity is permitted under the law.


All drivers

Drivers will not be permitted to use hand-held communication and entertainment devices when driving, with the following exceptions:

  • Calling 9-1-1 in an emergency situation
  • When the driver has safely pulled off the roadway and is stationary or is lawfully parked.

Other devices not included in the ban:

  • Viewing a display screen used for collision avoidance systems
  • Viewing a display screen of an instrument, gauge or system that provides information to the driver about the status of systems in the motor vehicle.

Emergency Response Personnel

Police, fire department and emergency medical services personnel will be permitted to use hand-held wireless communications devices and view display screens in the normal performance of their duties.

The use of hand-held radios by amateur radio operators (who provide assistance, especially in emergency situations such as severe storms and blackouts) will be phased out within three years, to allow hands-free technologies to be developed.

Commercial Drivers

A small percentage of drivers in transport-related industries (e.g., school buses, taxis, couriers) and public service workers (e.g., transit and highway maintenance workers) rely on the use of certain types of wireless devices and display screen technologies in the performance of day-to-day operations.

To help these businesses stay competitive, Ontario is granting a three-year phase-out period for the commercial use of two-way radios, including mobile and CB radios, to allow for hands-free technologies to be developed.

The new law will not affect mobile data terminals, logistical tracking devices and dispatching devices.  They will be exempt for commercial and public service vehicle drivers who are engaged in the performance of their duties.

Hand-mikes (push-to-talk systems) and portable radios (walkie-talkies) may be used in a hands-free mode.  This would mean the driver can use a lapel button or other hands-free application as long as the hand-mike or walkie-talkies is not held while driving.


  • Bob Nichols
    Communications Branch
  • Nicole Lippa-Gasparro
    Minister’s Office

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6 Responses to “Bill C 118- 3 year exemption for Amateurs”

  1. Tim VE3UO Says:

    Hmmm … I might have a mobile radio for sale .. call me around Oct 2012🙂

  2. va3qv Says:

    Blue tooth capable?

  3. Tim VE3UO Says:

    If it was blue tooth capable, I wouldn’t be selling it!😉

  4. Greg Meek Says:

    If they say it is dangerous to use a hands on cell while driving, why don’t the police have to use hands free. Doesn’t seem right to me.

  5. Wayne Davies va3grp Says:

    Bluetooth devices, are totally useless in time of emergencies, or disasters. They don’t hold enough charge to make them viable for this type of usage. Transmitters being used today, were never intended to be used with a Bluetooth device connected to it (Interface & head-piece). The Ontario Government has now really made a huge blunder, as many mobile amatuers, will totally cease operating their mobile units after 2012, making them unavalible for emergencies, and disasters, when needed badly. After 2012, while still operating a hand-held mike, requires an amateur operator to pull over to the side of the road to operate his/her mobile unit,…does this mean even on a busy hwy. such as 401? The governments stupid new law, will now have us making radio freq., and other nessessary function changes, now done by use of the mike tone pads, at the transmiiter unit itself, thus requiring us to take our thoughts, and eyes away from the road while doing so. The governments new hands free law, makes using a radio transmitter more dangerous than ever, in the history of 2-way mobile use. I always knew those in government had their brains in their pants, but this really takes the cake. All levels of government in Canada, should be taking careful note, on what has happened in Hati, with the lack of amateur radio communications to rely on, to get much needed help from abroad. Hati was in total chaos, till communications were again setup. More amateurs living, or allowed into in that area from abroad, would have had things running much faster, and smoother. Disasters such as that seen in Hati, could very easily happen here in Ontario, without a moments notice, requiring many 2-way mobiles, and base stations to act quickly, to restore communications, and aid helping those requiring help. Disasters such as Hati has seen, distroyed just about everything, as far as the eye could see, and just where would we be able to buy batteries to operate a bluetooth device, under those same conditions? A life maybe hanging on a thin thread, and if our radios operate only by bluetooth device mikes in the future, we’ve lost a life, that just might have been saved, had we retained the use of the mikes of today. That life on a threat could be a family member. Can you imagine how an amateur will feel after loosing a close loved one, all because his Bluetooth device gave out, due to loss of battery power, with no replacements available? We’re talking about saving lives here, in times of emergencies, and disaster, Sure we use PTT mikes daily, but we are also training ourselves daily, for the day when our radios, and ourselves, are badly needed to save lives, and who knows when that might occur? A min./day/month from now, who really knows. Even 9/11 speaks loudly, as things occurred in NY city. 2-way Mobiles were badly needed then, to set communications, and aid those hurt, and seeking medical help badly. Are you, the amateur reading this, be the first one to turn your back, and totally give up on going after a bunch of lame brains in government, who can’t think beyond their noses, and not seek total exemption in Bill 118. If you are, then your not worthy of being called an amateur radio operator. Remember, the world of amateur radio is all watching what we do here, and whether we go after being exempted from Bill 118, and suceed in our quest. It’s time now, to rally together, and change the Ontario governments way of thinking, and straighten their brains out a bit, for the betterment of others, who may need our help in the coming future. Get commited, and start acting on it now, before they begin banning the total complete use of mobile 2-way radios across Canada, which some in the police force are speaking about doing now, and seeking that law be inforced to the letter. I see it coming up fast in the near future. Then you can kiss 2-way mobile radio usage good-bye forever, as far as mobile usage is concerned. Either act now, or loose. The choice is yours. What will it be?

  6. Wayne Davies va3grp Says:

    I forgot one last comment.
    I totally support, a law for the absolute complete ban of all types of texting, and cellphones, straight across Canada, less it’s primary use is strickly for 911 emergency use only, while driving. Cell phone users should take their calls while totally outside of a vehicle. They are the main cause for all this problem Amateurs and CB operators are having right now. Them, and the total lack of brains in government at Queens Park.
    I’m really browned off about Bill 118. I hope others are just as browned off, as I am, and start going after Queen’s Park for total exemption in Bill 118

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