Radio Licensing

Information about Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISEDC) formerly Industry Canada (I.C.) Radio licenses

Just as it is important to have a driver’s license to drive a car, you must have a radio license to operate a radio as well.  It is unlawful to transmit without a valid license unless the transmitter is license-exempt.

Licenses are issued by ISEDC, the government body responsible for radio spectrum.  For a fee we can apply for a license on your behalf if you would rather not navigate the complexities of antenna beam width, decibels and effective radiated power.

Handheld portable radios and vehicle mounted radios are licensed differently than fixed stations.  The cost per mobile is $41 per year regardless of the number of individual frequencies on the license.

Licensing is our responsibility when we rent radio equipment (unless specified otherwise) and is shown separately as a license fee (AKA: airtime).

Fixed stations cost a lot more per year to license and are more complex in their rates.  Each frequency programmed into each fixed station is subject to its own fee.  The fixed station frequency rate varies by region and other factors.  This is true even if the base station has a small antenna and is used for low power applications. Sophisticated trunking system can save on your yearly ISEDC fees because they are more spectrally efficient.

Radio licenses for a specific location are usually issued low power assignments.  This means that the radio output is limited to 5 Watts.  This is important to know since the default setting on vehicle and base radios are usually 25-45 Watts.  Low power fixed base station licenses also limit antenna height to 5 metres above the ground.   Indoor antennas allow up to 30 metres.  Above this height the output is limited to 1 Watt.  External antennas can only be maximum 15m above ground at 1 Watt.  Low power is used to allow ISEDC to reuse assigned channels to other companies just out of range.

Licenses are due by March 31 each year.  You can reach Industry Canada in the lower mainland at 604-930-8691

If you want us to apply on your behalf and have access to your profile, we will need to have a power of attorney (PoA)

Cut and paste the following onto your company letterhead (with address and contact info), sign, and PDF scan to us:


Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

13401 108 Avenue, Room 1700

Surrey, British Columbia

V3T 5V6

Attn: Radio Inspector

Re: Radio Licenses

Please be advised that B.C. Communications is authorized to act as agent on behalf of (your legal company name) for applying or amending our radio spectrum and licenses. Should there be any questions please do not hesitate to contact myself at your convenience.  Permission is granted until revoked.  Our federal company business number (GST#) is [_____]


(your name)

(your title)

(address and phone number if not on letterhead)