RSP-102 — Special Authorization Procedure for Terminal, Radio, Broadcasting and Interference-Causing Equipment to be Certified, Registered or Deemed in Compliance With Technical Equipment Standards

Issue 1
February 2021
Gazette Notice No. SMSE-002-21

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This document outlines Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s (ISED) procedure for assessing special authorization requests that allow terminal, radio, broadcasting or interference-causing equipment to deviate from one or more of the specific requirements found in an ISED technical equipment standard.

This procedure will be in force upon its publication on ISED’s website.

Inquiries pertaining to this procedure may be submitted using one of the following methods:

  • online, using the General Inquiry form, selecting the Directorate of Regulatory Standards radio button and specifying “RSP-102” in the “General Inquiry” field
  • by mail, to the following address:

    Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
    Engineering, Planning and Standards Branch
    235 Queen Street
    Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0H5

    Attention: Directorate of Regulatory Standards

  • by e-mail, to

ISED documents are available in the Official publications section of the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website.

Issued under the authority of
the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Martin Proulx
Director General
Engineering, Planning and Standards Branch

1. Scope

This document outlines the procedure used by ISED to assess a special authorization request related to a specific product (i.e. model number) that would allow a deviation from the requirements set out in one or more of the following ISED technical equipment standards:

  • Broadcasting Equipment Technical Standards (BETS)
  • Compliance Specification for Terminal Equipment, Terminal Systems, Network Protection Devices, Connection Arrangements and Hearing Aids Compatibility (CS-03)
  • Interference-Causing Equipment Standards (ICES)
  • Radio Standards Specifications (RSS)

If a product does not meet all the requirements set forth in the applicable technical equipment standards, a manufacturer cannot import, distribute, lease, offer for sale or sell it unless a special authorization has been granted for that product to be certified, registered or deemed in compliance with the applicable technical equipment standards.

2. Definitions

Special authorization: An authorization issued by the Minister under paragraph 5(1)(a)(v) of the Radiocommunication ActFootnote1 or paragraph 69.3(1)(i) of the Telecommunications ActFootnote 2 that authorizes the use of spectrum or equipment (be it a product or a system) that is considered appropriate by the Minister and that is not otherwise specified by these acts. For the purposes of this document, this definition will apply to equipment authorized in cases where a standard has not been established or where the equipment deviates from the requirements of a technical equipment standard.

Notice of application: A public notice that ISED prepares and posts on its website soliciting comments and feedback after receiving an application for a special authorization.

3. Related documents

ISED documents are available in the Official publications section of the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website. Refer to the following documents as applicable:


CS – Compliance Specification
DC – Declaration of Conformity
ICES – Interference-Causing Equipment Standard
RSP – Radio Standards Procedure
RSS – Radio Standards Specification

4. Application and process

This section describes the procedure that should be followed by applicants seeking a special authorization by ISED to have equipment:

  • deviate from the specific requirements of a technical equipment standard; or
  • authorized in cases where a technical equipment standard has not been established.


It should be noted that special authorizations under category “b” are granted infrequently and only under special circumstances, when no other authorization is possible.

ISED will not accept special authorization applications that are deemed to circumvent current or upcoming policy consultations and decisions.

4.1 Application for a special authorization

Special authorization applications, along with the required information described below, can be submitted using one of the following methods:

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Engineering, Planning and Standards Branch
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0H5

Attention: Directorate of Regulatory Standards

4.1.1 Required information

The application, however submitted, shall contain a description of the special authorization being requested, the intended use of the equipment (product or system), as well as all the information described below:

  1. a signed covering letter from the applicant including the following statement:
    1. I certify that I am authorized to sign this application. All of the statements herein and documents attached hereto, are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

  2. the name of the applicant, mailing address and other contact information (e.g. email address);
  3. the make, brand name, model number of the product;
  4. the product version, i.e. product marketing name (PMN), hardware version identification number (HVIN), firmware version identification number (FVIN), host marketing name (HMN), as applicable;
  5. a detailed description of the equipment or system, including but not limited to:
    • the technical specifications, e.g. transmitted power levels (channel power and power spectral density), antenna characteristics, frequency bands of operation, occupied bandwidth,out-of-band emission masks, duty cycle, activity factor; and
    • the operational specifications, e.g. intended end user, typical locations of use, frequency of use;
  6. the original submission for equipment authorization, with all associated correspondence, including a rationale explaining why the equipment was rejected or not considered, as applicable;
  7. where a technical equipment standard exists, a detailed rationale explaining why the equipment does not comply with the technical equipment standard;
  8. a detailed rationale explaining why a special authorization would benefit Canadians;
  9. a comprehensive study of potential interference and its impact on existing and upcoming services;

    Note: The applicant shall ensure that the co-existence study takes into account the different technologies used, i.e. that of the product (e.g. broadband, radar) versus that of the incumbent services (e.g. narrowband) operating in the same and/or in adjacent frequency bands.

  10. the estimated number of users or the number of units that will be in use; and
  11. a detailed description of data rates and protocol, where applicable, including but not limited to:
    • the manufacturer-specified raw data rate and throughput
    • a description of which information is carried between products
    • the amount of time required to transmit and receive information between products
    • for each channel, the type of modulation technique used and the bandwidth required

4.1.2 Supporting documents

In addition to the above-listed requirements, the following documentation, as applicable, should be submitted when applying for a special authorization:

  • a test report issued by an ISED-recognized testing laboratory
  • any special authorization or waiver granted by other regulators
  • any additional information that may help in the evaluation (e.g. other recognized standards)

ISED may request from an applicant a sample of the product (equipment or system), including computer-aided design (CAD) files, and the application will be put on hold until the sample is received. If the equipment is not provided as per ISED’s instructions or within the time frame established at the time of the request, the authorization application may be denied.

4.2 Assessment of the authorization application by ISED

Once ISED has ensured the received application is complete, it will assess the technical compatibility of the device with the spectrum environment.

If special circumstances warrant a deviation from ISED’s technical equipment standards and a special authorization would serve the public interest, ISED may issue a special authorization or launch a public consultation process so that interested parties can voice their concerns, highlight their support or bring new information to ISED’s attention.

4.3 Public consultation

Where ISED determines a consultation is needed, a notice of application will be posted on ISED’s Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website. Public or affected parties will be invited to comment.

The notice of application, which will be prepared and posted by ISED on its website, will include relevant information from the applicants’ special authorization application, as well as other key information, including:

  • the applicant’s information (e.g. company name)
  • a description of the proposed device (e.g. name and purpose, frequency bands of operation, power levels)
  • a description of the requested deviation from an ISED technical equipment standard
  • an explanation of the need for deviation from current regulatory requirements and how a special authorization would benefit Canadians
  • the identification of significant dates, such as those by which comments must be filed
  • the contact information for ISED staff who can provide further information concerning the special authorization process and related matters

ISED will provide the applicant with a copy of the notice of application before publishing it on the website.

Unless otherwise specified, the deadline for filing comments will be 30 calendar days from the publication date of the public notice of application.

ISED will also provide the applicant and interested parties with the opportunity to reply to comments from other parties. Unless otherwise specified, replies will be accepted for 15 calendar days after the publication of the comments.

All comments and reply comments will be posted on ISED’s Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website.

5. Disclosure of information

The applicant shall clearly indicate the application information and support documents they would like to keep confidential. The provisions of the Access to Information Act apply to all applicants.

The following types of information qualify for confidential treatment:

  • block diagrams
  • CAD files
  • operational descriptions
  • parts lists and tune-up information
  • schematic diagrams
  • security information

For other types of information, ISED may consider allowing confidential treatment if the applicant submits an inquiry (using one of the three methods specified in the Preface) with the appropriate justification before the special authorization application is submitted to ISED.

Should ISED determine that the confidential business information identified and provided by the applicant is a necessary component of the public consultation, ISED will ask the applicant to sign a consent to disclose such information, and proceed only after obtaining a signed consent.

6. Decision

In determining whether or not a special authorization should be granted, ISED will consider all comments received during consultation, where applicable, along with other relevant information, including ISED’s own internal analysis.

When granting a special authorization, ISED may incorporate conditions designed to eliminate or mitigate the risks associated with the authorized deviations to the applicable technical equipment standards. Certain conditions may be imposed at the discretion of ISED, as appropriate, including but not limited to the following: “indoor only” use, a maximum number of devices to be sold in Canada.

Once the special authorization has been approved, applicants will be notified and the authorization will be issued in the form of a letter, which will include any specific conditions. Special authorizations issued by ISED under this procedure will be posted online under the Special authorizations list.

7. Retention and audits of equipment authorized under a special authorization

If a special authorization letter is issued by ISED, the letter must be submitted with the equipment certification and/or registration application.

The section on certification retention and audits in RSP-100, Certification of Radio Apparatus and Broadcasting Equipment, and the section on registration retention and audits in DC-01, Procedure for Declaration of Conformity and Registration of Terminal Equipment, apply to the certification and registration of equipment authorized under a special authorization.