CPC-4-1-01 – Application Procedures for White Space Database Administrators (WSDBAs)

Issue 1

Posted on Industry Canada website: 

1. Purpose

This document outlines procedures to be followed by applicants who wish to be considered for designation by Industry Canada to become white space database administrators (WSDBAs). Such WSDBAs shall ensure the appropriate protection of licensed radio systems and services within the same frequency bands for the purpose of managing the operation of white space devices.Footnote 1 This document also indicates administrative and operational requirements that these WSDBAs must meet in order to maintain their designation status.

2. Mandate

The Minister of Industry, through the Department of Industry Act, the Radiocommunication Act and the Radiocommunication Regulations, with due regard to the objectives of the Telecommunications Act, is responsible for spectrum management in Canada. As such, the Minister oversees the development of national policies and goals for spectrum resource use and ensures effective management of the radio frequency spectrum.

In accordance with subsection 3(4) of the Radiocommunication Act, any power, duty or function under the Act or the Radiocommunication Regulations may be exercised or performed by any person authorized by the Minister to do so and, if so exercised or performed, shall be deemed to have been exercised or performed by the Minister.

3. Policy

In the context of white space frequency use, designated WSDBAs responsible for operating white space databases (WSDBs), in conjunction with certified white space devices (WSDs), will ensure effective sharing of the radio spectrum with licensed users.

The Minister will designate such WSDBAs in accordance with requirements outlined in this document, and, as part of these requirements, designated WSDBAs will enter into contractual agreements with Industry Canada, for the purpose of effectively managing the WSDBs. Such databases, managed by the WSDBAs, will be accessed by certified WSDs to identify frequencies available for use in their respective geographical areas.

4. Background

On August 27, 2011, Industry Canada released SMSE-012-11, Consultation on a Policy and Technical Framework for the Use of Non-Broadcasting Applications in the Television Broadcasting Bands Below 698 MHz. In the consultation, the Department sought comments on general considerations related to the use of non-broadcasting applications in the TV bands 54-72 MHz, 76-88 MHz, 174-216 MHz, 470-608 MHz and 614-698 MHz.

The issues consulted upon included the introduction of licence-exempt TV band white space devices (TVWS devices), the regulatory framework for licensed remote rural broadband systems (RRBSs) and the regulatory framework for licensed low-power apparatus (LPA), such as wireless microphones.

TVWS devices are designed to operate using unassigned TV band channels on a no-interference, no-protection basis to licensed broadcasters or other authorized wireless telecommunications licensees operating in the same TV band.

In October 2012, Industry Canada released SMSE-012-12, Framework for the Use of Certain Non-Broadcasting Applications in the Television Broadcasting Bands Below 698 MHz. In this framework, Industry Canada outlined general policies for the protection of licensed radio systems through the use of geolocation and the establishment of TVWS registration databases developed and operated by private sector administrators. Such databases will inform TVWS devices regarding which TV channels are available for use at the devices’ desired location. The database would also be used to register the locations of fixed TVWS devices, protected locations and channels of licensed incumbent services.

Under the framework, any eligible applicant may seek designation by Industry Canada to become a WSDBA, provided that it meets related technical and operational requirements. The process for this is described further in Section 8 of this document.

5. Definitions

Available Channel
A range of frequencies available for use by a white space device (WSD).

Dynamic Spectrum Access
A technique by which a radio system dynamically adapts to the local radio spectrum environment in order to identify and then access available channels at specific locations.

Geolocation Capability
The ability of a WSD to determine its geographic coordinates within a required level of accuracy.

Low-Power Apparatus (LPA)
Examples of low-power apparatus (LPA) include wireless microphones and wireless cameras, systems for cue and control communications, as well as systems for synchronization of video camera signals. Low-power FM transmitters may also be included in this category, but their use is restricted and is only authorized for operation under specific conditions. LPA may be limited to a particular location (fixed venue), specific area (extended venue) or be used on a province-wide or Canada-wide basis (electronic news gathering (ENG) type), depending on the licence.

Personal/Portable White Space Device
A WSD that transmits and/or receives radiocommunication signals while stationary or in motion at unspecified fixed points.

White Space (WS)
That part of the spectrum which is available for radiocommunication by radio systems, at a specific time and in a given geographic area.

White Space Device (WSD)
A radio apparatus that operates in the white space frequency bands using dynamic spectrum access techniques.

TV Band White Space Device (TVWS device)
A WSD designed to operate on an unlicensed basis on available channels in the broadcast television bands at 54-60 MHz, 76-88 MHz, 174-216 MHz, 470-608 MHz and 614-698 MHz.

White Space Database (WSDB)
A third party database recognized by Industry Canada that maintains records of all licensed services and systems approved to operate within WS frequency bands. The WSDB identifies available frequencies at a specific time and geographic location, and provides lists of these frequencies to WSDs in response to queries.

White Space Database Administrator (WSDBA)
A third party service provider designated by Industry Canada to administer a WSDB within Canada.

6. Related Documents

Spectrum Management and Telecommunications information related to white spaces is available at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/h_sf10498.html.

SMSE -012-11
Consultation on a Policy and Technical Framework for the Use of Non-Broadcasting Applications in the Television Broadcasting Bands Below 698 MHz

7. Eligibility

Any database operator is eligible to apply for designation by Industry Canada as a WSDBA. Prior to being designated, applicants must follow the procedures and demonstrate that they meet the requirements set out in this document.

In order to be eligible for designation, a WSDBA must establish and maintain a business office and duly delegated personnel/representatives within Canada. Additionally, the main elements of each database essential to the operational control of spectrum access and interference must be hosted within Canada, and be available for assessment by Industry Canada during the database evaluation and testing phase. The Department will assess, on a case-by-case basis, whether the essential elements of the database are operating effectively.

8. Database Approval Process

There are three key phases to the database approval process: the application; the evaluation and testing of the database; and the designation of the database administrator. The applicant will need Industry Canada’s approval before moving onto the next phase of the database approval process. The following sections provide a description of the process.

8.1 Database Administrator Application Phase

Upon publication of this document, Industry Canada welcomes applications from database administrators wishing to be considered for designation in Canada. All applications received will be assessed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Such applications should be directed to the point of contact person identified in Section 15 of this document. See Annex A as reference for the application phase.

8.1.1 Application Receipt

In order to be considered for designation status, applicants must, at a minimum, submit all information listed in Annex A and Annex B.

A key information item will be the demonstration of sufficient technical expertise to establish and administer a WSDB in accordance with the requirements outlined in Database Requirements DBS-01, White Space Database Specifications.

Applicants are encouraged to consult with Industry Canada (see Section 15) prior to submitting an application, to ensure that all required information has been sufficiently addressed.

8.1.2 Application Review

Industry Canada will only evaluate complete applications. Should insufficient information be provided, or other problems arise due to missing or inconsistent information, the applicant will be contacted to provide clarification or supplementary information.

Industry Canada will review submitted information against the application requirements of this document and DBS-01. Only applicants that meet the requirements of both documents will be eligible to become a designated WSDBA.

As part of the application review process, and for data verification purposes, the WSDBA will be required to allow public review of Industry Canada licensing information downloaded into the WSDB for a minimum 30-day period, prior to formal granting of designation status by the Department.

8.2 Database Evaluation and Testing Phase

During the development process of the WSDB, access to Industry Canada’s licensing information is required. An overview on how to gain access to and interpret Industry Canada’s database information can be found in Annex E.

Industry Canada evaluates each database to ensure that it complies with the requirements set out in DBS-01. Refer to Annex B regarding the evaluation and testing phase.

8.3 Database Administrator Designation Phase

Once the evaluation and testing of the database phase has been completed and approved by Industry Canada, the next phase is to designate the database.

8.3.1 Execution of Database Administrator Designation Agreement

Following successful evaluation and testing, Industry Canada arranges the execution of a designation agreement in a format outlined in Annex C.

8.3.2 Letter of Designation

Upon successful completion of the application phase, evaluation and testing, and execution of the designation agreement, Industry Canada issues a letter of designation to the successful applicant(s). A sample letter of designation is provided in Annex D.

9. Website Listing

A list of all designated WSDBAs will be made available on Industry Canada’s Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website (http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/h_sf10498.html).

10. Information Disclosure

Applicants may indicate that information submitted in support of their designation application is to be considered confidential or proprietary in nature.

11. Disclaimer

Industry Canada’s designation of a WSDBA does not imply or otherwise suggest promotion or recommendation of the services offered by the WSDBA, nor does the designation imply or suggest that the WSDBA is an agent or otherwise representative of Industry Canada.

12. Retaining Designation Status

In order to maintain its designation status, a WSDBA shall, on an ongoing basis, meet all requirements of the terms and conditions of the executed WSDBA designation agreement with Industry Canada, and all other related technical and operational requirements as indicated by the Department, including interference resolution.

12.1 Revocation of Designation

It should be noted that Industry Canada may revoke the designation of a WSDBA that is not in compliance with the designation agreement's terms, conditions, technical or operational requirements. A WSDBA shall inform Industry Canada in writing of any significant changes that may affect its continued compliance with the terms and conditions of its agreement, related technical or operational requirements, or its ability to carry out activities for which it was originally designated.

Designation status will be revoked upon any event terminating the Agreement. The Minister of Industry has the authority under the Radiocommunication Act to manage the radio spectrum, and in future may reallocate or reassign frequencies available for WSD use. The WSDBA should note that Industry Canada may terminate the Agreement in accordance with such changes, or for other reasons, with 90 calendar days’ notice. Other details concerning termination are set out in the Agreement.

12.2 Interference Resolution Procedures

In cases of harmful interferenceFootnote 2 to authorized radio systems or services suspected to be caused by a WSD, the radio user experiencing such interference should report the problem to its nearest Industry Canada Spectrum Management office.Footnote 3

The procedure for investigating suspected harmful interference to authorized radiocommunication systems is set out in Section 4 of Industry Canada’s Spectrum Management Service Standards.Footnote 4

After confirming that the source of interference is a particular WSD, the Department may issue to the operator of the device a notice pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(l) of the Radiocommunication Act to cease or modify operation of this device immediately.

Should the operator of the interference-causing WSD fail to comply with this notice and/or is found to be non-compliant with technical requirements outlined in Radio Standards Specification RSS-222, Industry Canada will require the device owner to immediately cease operation of the device in question. In this case, the Department may also require the WSDBA, upon receipt of a written request from Industry Canada, to cease to provide available channels to the interference-causing device.

Industry Canada will require the WSDBA to take appropriate corrective action to resolve interference concerns linked to the following:

  • operating problems or deficiencies of a designated WSDB; and/or
  • a designated WSDB’s failure to meet technical or operational requirements as set out in DBS-01.

It should be noted that failure to comply with Industry Canada’s interference mitigation requests may result in revocation of a WSDBA’s designation status.

13. Auditing Procedure

Industry Canada may audit a WSDBA’s WSDB operations at any time to ensure compliance with agreement terms, conditions and technical or operational requirements. Designated WSDBAs shall provide the Department with any requested information or documentation as required for completion of such an audit within 30 calendar days of the date of the initial request.

Where it is determined by Industry Canada that a WSDBA is not in compliance, immediate corrective action must be taken by the WSDBA to the satisfaction of the Department in order to maintain designation status. Failure to take such corrective action, within the time period specified by the Department, may result in Industry Canada’s suspension or revocation of designation status.

A WSDBA whose designation status has been revoked by the Department will be removed from Industry Canada’s list of designated WSDBAs.

14. Redesignation

If after its designation status has been revoked, a WSDBA wishes to be redesignated, a formal application must be submitted to Industry Canada.

15. Contact Information

All application submissions and/or enquiries concerning application procedures and requirements should be directed to the office of:

Manager, Fixed Service
Industry Canada
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H5


Annex A—Database Administrator Application Phase

Applicant Information

Provide the full name and mailing address of the applicant, as well as appropriate contact names, telephone numbers, facsimile numbers and email addresses.
Provide a copy of the certificate of incorporation for the applicant, including any bylaws, addenda and appendices. This is not required if such information has already been provided to Industry Canada and this information remains unchanged.
Provide a description of the applicant’s corporate business structure and identify any existing or anticipated business partners or affiliates.
Provide contact information for key personnel/representatives, including the geographic location and street addresses within Canada where elements of the white space registration databases (WSDBs) are located and the locations of the business offices.
Indicate anticipated milestone dates for WSDB development (if any), and the expected date for bringing the proposed WSDB(s) into full operation.

Annex B—Database Evaluation and Testing Phase

Database Information

The applicant must provide a test plan, including specific test cases intended to demonstrate how the white space database (WSDB) will meet all requirements outlined in DBS-01, White Space Database Specifications. The test plan is subject to review and approval by Industry Canada. Once the test plan has been approved, the applicant must demonstrate to the Department that the WSDB meets the requirements of DBS-01 by successfully completing all the test cases included in the test plan. To the extent possible, new applicants are expected to adopt any existing de facto standards for interoperability established between designated white space database administrators (WSDBAs).
Applicants must provide diagrams illustrating the architecture of the registration database system, and a detailed description of how each function operates and interacts with other functions. Applicants must also identify each element in the database architecture that is essential to operational and interference control. In addition, the applicant must indicate where such essential elements are located or hosted.
The applicant must describe the methods (e.g. interfaces, protocols) that will be used by the white space device (WSD) to communicate with the registration database and the procedures, if any, which it plans to use to verify that such a WSD can communicate properly with the database.
The applicant must include a description of the security methods that will be used to protect against unauthorized parties accessing or altering database information or otherwise corrupting the operation of the database system in the performance of its intended functions.
If the applicant will not be performing all database functions, it must provide information on all other entities performing these functions, and their business relationship to the applicant. In particular, the applicant must address how Industry Canada will be assured that all requirements of designated database administration are satisfied when functions are divided among multiple entities, including a description of how registered WSD data will be transferred among various entities and other databases, and the expected schedule of such data transfers.

Annex C—Database Administrator Designation Phase

White Space Database Administrator Sample Agreement, Terms and Conditions

In order for an applicant to receive Industry Canada designation as a white space database administrator (WSDBA), the applicant must submit information as indicated in annexes A and B of CPC-4-1-01. If the application is accepted by the Department and the subsequent evaluation proves successful, the applicant will then be required to sign an agreement with Industry Canada before it can be designated by the Minister.

Below is a sample of text proposed to be included in a WSDBA designation agreement, denoting typical requirements, terms and conditions.



This agreement is between Industry Canada and [Database Company Ltd.], hereinafter referred to as the white space database administrator (WSDBA).

The WSDBA representative indicated below certifies that he/she has the authority of the WSDBA and agrees, for good and valid consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, to abide by all of the terms and conditions herein.

The WSDBA agrees that, in acting under this Agreement, it will use commercially reasonable efforts to ensure that its white space database(s) will be available at all times, and will be utilized by certified fixed and portable wireless devices in order to determine available TV band frequencies suitable for use at the devices’ desired geographic locations.

space to insert signature
Fiona Gilfillan
Acting Senior Assistant Deputy Minister
Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications
Industry Canada
space to insert signature
[Mr. John Doe/Ms. Jane Doe]
[Database Company Ltd.]

WSDBA Agreement Terms and Conditions

(1) The WSDBA certifies that all information submitted to Industry Canada in relation to its designation application to be accurate and complete, and that it will promptly (but in no event later than 30 calendar days) notify the Department if it becomes aware of any material change in this information. It is a breach of this Agreement to knowingly provide inaccurate information or to fail to disclose a material change to Industry Canada.

(2) The WSDBA has, and will maintain, business office(s) located at [street/mailing address] or elsewhere in Canada, and agrees to maintain one or more delegated individuals as its personnel/representatives in Canada at all times. Any requests for information by Industry Canada or notices under this agreement may be sent to [street/mailing/email address] via telephone, facsimile, standard mail or email as appropriate, at the above address. Any information that the WSDBA is required to forward to Industry Canada may be sent via telephone, facsimile, standard mail or email, as appropriate, to the following street/email address: 235 Queen Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5/ic.whitespace-espaceblanc.ic@canada.ca. Information provided pursuant to this Agreement may be exchanged either by standard mail or by email. Both parties shall notify each other of any relevant change in addresses of offices, delegated individuals or other contact information.

(3) The parties agree that the laws of the Province in which the WSDBA is physically located shall apply to this Agreement.

(4) The WSDBA shall not promote its designation status to provide database administrative services beyond the scope of this Agreement, nor indicate that it is an agent or representative of Industry Canada or the Government of Canada.

(5) A WSDBA is not permitted to charge fees for the registration of licensed stations (e.g. low power apparatus, TV receive sites, cable TV head-ends) to the WSDB.

(6) The WSDBA agrees that it will comply on an ongoing basis with all eligibility, technical and operational requirements, as set out in this document and in DBS-01, White Space Database Specifications, as amended from time to time.

In addition, the WSDBA must keep abreast of all relevant Industry Canada regulations, policies, procedures, requirements, standards and specifications and amendments thereto related to the operation of WSDs and WSD registration databases in Canada. This may include active participation in evaluation tests, discussion groups, meetings, or teleconferences established as deemed necessary by the Department to facilitate or address WS database issues. To facilitate this objective, Industry Canada will host a website where designated WSDBAs may follow developments related to operational and technical issues.

(7) A WSDBA shall permit public examination of licensed radio system contours and frequencies identified in its database as white space at particular locations, to allow for detection and correction of errors upon request.

(8) A WSDBA shall make publicly available all technical information required by Industry Canada related to location and parameters of operation; this requirement excludes personal contact information but includes registration and voluntarily submitted protected information (e.g. TV receive sites, cable TV head-ends) of fixed WSDs. The WSDBA is not permitted to charge fees for such public examination.

(9) A WSDBA shall not make publicly available the individual location of personal/portable WSDs.

(10) The WSDBA shall not compromise the privacy of users of its WSD registration services, except when the WSDBA terminates the agreement pursuant to term (23) of this Agreement. Any time the WSDBA collects, uses or discloses personal information in the course of commercial activity, including transfer for third party processing, it must comply with the relevant portions of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) or substantially similar provincial legislation, where applicable.

(11) Unless otherwise stated in this Agreement, the WSDBA is not required to disclose any information that it may collect to support additional services.

(12) Industry Canada may audit or investigate compliance with terms and conditions of this Agreement at any time, and the WSDBA shall be required to provide any information or documentation as required, typically within 30 calendar days of the date of request.

(13) The WSDBA agrees to cooperate with Industry Canada in any review or audit of its WSDB operations, and to provide any information that the Department may request in order to ensure compliance.

(14) The WSDBA will address all complaints forwarded to it by Industry Canada regarding potential non-compliance with terms of designation, will implement corrective action(s) and will report back to the Department within 30 calendar days. Failure to reply in a satisfactory and timely manner will be considered by Industry Canada as a potential breach of this agreement.

(15) A WSDBA shall provide Industry Canada with access to detailed logs of WSD queries and responses (including those that are personally identifiable) contained in its database, for the purposes of evaluation and enforcement. Upon formal written request from the Department, the WSDBA may also be required to implement interference mitigation measures, including ceasing to provide available frequencies to a particular WS device or within a specified area.

(16) A WSDBA shall permit Industry Canada to examine WSD registration information to allow for the detection and correction of errors, resulting either from an inadvertent entry of incorrect data or as a result of a deliberate entry of false data.

(17) In addition to any other reporting requirements, the WSDBA will provide Industry Canada, by March 31 each year, with a report and statistical information regarding overall database performance, operational issues, developments, client complaints, efforts at resolution and incidents of WSDs causing interference with authorized radio systems. This report shall address above-noted matters for the previous calendar year, and will be provided in a suitable format to Industry Canada for assessment.

(18) Where it is determined by Industry Canada that a WSDBA is not in compliance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement, the WSDBA must take immediate corrective action, to the satisfaction of the Department, in order to maintain designation status. Failure to take such corrective action may result in Industry Canada’s suspension or revocation of designation status.

(19) Without prejudice to any other remedies available at law, in the event of any breach of this Agreement by the WSDBA, Industry Canada may take any or all of the following actions:

  • (a) provide notice of the breach and a timeline within which the breach must be remedied;
  • (b) enforce the terms of this Agreement via a court order;
  • (c) require that the WSDBA provide a separate enforceable undertaking to do or refrain from doing something under this Agreement;
  • (d) declare that this Agreement is terminated with or without the consent of the WSDBA; and
  • (e) revoke the designation of the WSDBA.

(20) A WSDBA whose designation status has been revoked by Industry Canada will be removed from the Department’s list of designated WSDBAs.

(21) The WSDBA and Industry Canada may terminate this Agreement upon joint consent, or upon provision of 90 calendar days’ advance notice. In addition, Industry Canada may terminate this Agreement at any time upon confirmation of breach of conditions or terms of this Agreement by the WSDBA, in accordance with paragraph 19(d) above.

(22) The WSDBA shall use its best efforts to comply with all terms of this Agreement.

(23) This Agreement may be amended in writing upon consent of both parties.

(24) The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of this Agreement shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any other provision of this Agreement, which shall remain in full force and effect.

Annex D — Sample WSDBA Designation Letter

Date: space to insert information

Our File: space to insert information

Name: space to insert information

Street: space to insert information

City and Province/Territory: space to insert information

Postal Code: space to insert information



This certifies that [designated WSDBA’s name] is designated by Industry Canada to operate a white space database (WSDB) in Canada.

This designation is subject to the conditions outlined in Client Procedures Circular CPC-4-1-01, Application Procedures for White Space Database Administrators (WSDBAs) and Database Requirements DBS-01, White Space Database (WSDB) Specifications, as well as the “WSDBA Agreement Terms and Conditions,” as signed by the applicant on XXXX date.

Your designated WSDBA identification number is: XXXXXXX.

Thank you for participating in this important function for the successful deployment of white space devices in Canada.

Name and title of appropriate Industry Canada official

Annex E — Access to Industry Canada’s Databases for Reference by White Space Database Administrators (WSDBAs)

1. Introduction

This document provides useful information on access to and interpretation of Industry Canada’s database information, which should be of use to current and prospective white space database administrators (WSDBA).

The information in this document is provided for guidance only, and is not binding or prescriptive. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date, but it is the responsibility of WSDBAs to ensure they are using correct and up-to-date data and to adapt to departmental software system changes as they occur. Policies and procedures applicable to WSDB operations are referenced below.

Any questions and queries related to WS regulation in Canada should be addressed to: whitespace-espaceblanc.IC@canada.ca.

1.1 Industry Canada Software Systems Transition

In autumn 2013, Industry Canada began upgrading its information technology systems used for spectrum management. The information in this document is based on the functionality of current departmental spectrum management systems and will be updated as these systems are replaced over the next few years.

Industry Canada will follow a phased approach to replace its spectrum licensing systems, using the following tentative schedule:

  • Pilot release (spring 2014): Licensing of point-to-point and earth stations operating above 960 MHz. There will be no anticipated impact on white space information delivery;
  • Release 1 (late 2014): Broadcasting, spectrum licences and radio equipment certification. There will be significant revisions to the data interfaces described in sections below;
  • Release 2 (late 2015): All remaining radiocommunications services, including site licences operating below 960 MHz. This will result in significant changes to the data interfaces described in Section 4 below.

Figure 1—Tentative Timeline for IC Software Renewal Project
Figure 1 – Tentative Timeline for IC Software Renewal Project (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 1

Figure 1 illustrates the three phases of the tentative timeline for the IC software renewal project. The drawing shows that the three phases overlap on one another. During the pilot release, which took place from September 2012 to the spring of 2014, software for licensing point-to-point earth stations operating in frequencies above 960 MHz was developed. During the first release, which took place from the spring of 2013 to November 2014, software for the broadcasting, spectrum licences and radio equipment certification was developed. During the second release, which began in the summer of 2014 and extends to November 2015, the software for all remaining radiocommunications services, including site licences operating below 960 MHz, will be developed.


Further information on Industry Canada’s spectrum management system renewal project is available at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/sam.

2. TV Broadcasting Station Data

Data and documentation relating to broadcasting stations in Canada are available at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/h_sf09484.html.

2.1 Industry Canada’s Broadcasting Database System (BCDBS)

Industry Canada’s broadcasting database can be downloaded in its entirety from the Spectrum Direct address provided in Section 3.1, using the hyperlinks under the heading “Broadcasting database export.” To download the entire database as a .zip file, select the option “Broadcasting database files.”

This data is provided in dBASE format.Footnote 5 There is a full description of the database format and fields provided in Broadcast Data Extract (AM-FM-TV)—User Manual, which is available from the same web page as the database itself.Footnote 6 The User Manual must be read together with the corrigendum (errata information) provided under the option “Corrective Notes.”

Note that Industry Canada’s broadcasting database information is updated on a daily basis (i.e. overnight by a batch process that runs between 8:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Eastern time). WSDBAs are required to re-download this database at least every 24 hours. For improved performance, it is recommended that WSDBAs do this overnight during off-peak hours. Broadcast information is not updated throughout the day, so it is unnecessary for WSDBAs to obtain such data more often than once a day.

2.1.1 Broadcasting Station Status Codes

The operational and authorization status of Canadian broadcast undertakings is indicated by a banner code included in the station data provided. The banner codes that should be considered as operational are as follows:

  • AU — Authorized by Industry Canada: The station has been approved for construction and testing. The broadcaster may be conducting on-air tests at this stage, prior to regular operation.
  • OP — Operational: The station is in regular operation.
  • TO — Temporary Operations: The station is a temporary replacement for another broadcast undertaking and thus is in regular operation at this time.
2.1.2 Analog/Digital Stations

It is necessary to know whether a protected TV broadcasting station is emitting analog or digital signals in order to determine relevant contour values. All Canadian digital television (DTV) broadcasting stations include the characters “-DT” as part of their station call sign. At this time, it should be assumed that all TV stations that do not include the “-DT” call sign designation are emitting analog signals only. There is also a “modulation” field provided in one of the database (.dbf) files that specifies the type of operation (analog or digital). TV modulation information is contained in column ERPATA of table TVSTATIO.dbf, and is coded as follows: 0=Analog; 1=Digital and 2=Post-transition (i.e. digital). If such .dbf information is not provided, determination of the analog/digital signal type should be based upon inclusion of "-DT” in the call sign.

2.1.3 Power

There are several fields included in Industry Canada’s TV broadcasting database. Of these, the “Visual Peak” power field, which specifies effective radiated power (ERP), is to be used for determination of both analog and digital TV station contours.

Note that some records specify “0” visual peak power, and a non-zero entry for visual average power. For these records, it can be assumed that the supplied average power value is also the peak power. Peak power is the maximum signal power radiated in any direction by a directional antenna, whereas average power is the mean value averaged over all azimuths. For omnidirectional stations, peak and average power values are the same.

Some records also specify “0” ERP for both visual peak and visual average. In these cases, it can be assumed that the visual peak power value is 1 kW.

2.1.4 Tilt Angle

Tilt angles and associated ERPs at these tilt angles may be ignored.

2.1.5 Station Height

Where no ground elevation is specified in Industry Canada’s database (i.e. the field is blank), the station’s local ground elevation should be taken from the digital elevation model (DEM)Footnote 7 instead. The DEM ground elevation should only be used in this case, as it is less accurate than the site-specific elevations stored in Industry Canada’s database, due to variations in ground elevation between sampling locations.

Where no data is provided for TV station antenna height, assume a value of 30 metres above ground level (AGL).

2.1.6 Other Clarifications

For the purposes of this document, broadcasting data, if any, for TV stations operating above channel 51, should be ignored.

Canadian stations in the Department’s BCDBS can be distinguished based on the “province code” field in the table PROVINCE.dbf. Applicable Canadian province codes are:  AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , NT , ON , PE , QC , SK , NU and YT .

3. Licensed Radiocommunications Station Data

3.1 Search Methodology and Timing

Licence data for non-broadcast radio stations is available from Industry Canada’s Spectrum Direct website (http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrumdirect). There are a number of radio frequency search options available on this site, and WSDBAs will likely wish to access the Radio Frequency Search options (Radio Frequency Search | Frequency Range) directly. These specific options are accessible via http://sd.ic.gc.ca/pls/engdoc_anon/web_search.frequency_range_input.

Industry Canada does not currently make its licence data searchable through a web service. Two options for automated access are available to WSDBs. In either option, the parameters and allowed values of a search page can be determined from the HTML source code of Industry Canada’s search interface web page, as follows:

  1. WSDBs may use the HTTP protocol and POST action to emulate the submission of a search page to the departmental website; or
  2. WSDBs may use the HTTP protocol and GET action.

Search results are available in several formats, including HTML, Excel or ASCII (with only specifically selected fields provided) or in ASCII or XML formats (with all available data fields included). If using one of the formats which only provides some data fields, it is important to obtain all the fields included in Table 1 below. XML format may be easiest to parse, but any of these is acceptable.

For example, if using the GET method, use a URL similar to the following:


This would reply with the resulting stations in XML format. The XML format includes all data fields, but could be filtered as needed by the database user.

Industry Canada’s Spectrum Management System currently updates the searchable radio licence data nightly (by a batch process that runs between 8:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Eastern time). WSDBAs are required to obtain updated Canadian licensed radio station information at least every 24 hours. For improved performance, it is recommended that WSDBAs query licence data overnight, during off-peak hours. Frequency assignments are not currently updated throughout the day, so it is unnecessary for WSDBAs to obtain such data more often than once a day.

Figure 2—Screenshot of Spectrum Direct’s Frequency Range Search Interface
Figure 2 – Screenshot of Spectrum Direct’s Frequency Range Search Interface (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 2

Figure 2 shows a screen shot of the search interface. Various criteria have to be inputted before the search can be carried out. The fields to be defined are: the frequency range; the frequency type of the station, whether transmit and/or receive; the geographic characteristics; the region(s) of operation; and the format of the output to be displayed. Two buttons are provided: one to initiate a search and the other to reset the search criteria.


Figure 2 shows a screenshot the search interface.

3.2 Search Criteria

WSDBAs are to use the following search criteria to ensure they obtain the correct set of licensed radio stations:

  • Frequency Range: The following frequency ranges are to be searched. These ranges may be subdivided if desired: 54-60 MHz, 76-88 MHz, 174-216 MHz, 470-608 MHz and 614-698 MHz;Footnote 8
  • Frequency Type to Search: “Tx or Rx”;Footnote 9
  • Station Type: “Land, Coast and Earth (Fixed and Transportable).” Selecting this option will ensure that only non-broadcasting stations are returned;Footnote 10
  • Region(s): “Canada Wide”;Footnote 11
  • Output format:Footnote 12 This is at the discretion of the WSDBA. For the last two output options (“with all fields”), it is not necessary to include Filters or Link Stations; and
  • Link Station or Filter Information (located further down the page) should be left at its default setting of “none.”

If using an output option that specifies “with selected fields only,” it is important to select all needed fields. At a minimum, all the fields listed in Table 1 (Section 3.3) need to be selected.

3.3 Data Fields

Table 1, below, provides a list of data elements needed to meet Industry Canada’s technical requirements.

Table 1—Data Elements Needed to Meet Industry Canada’s Technical Requirements
Field Units Notes
Frequency Information
Necessary Bandwidth—1 kHz Used to distinguish between types of systems.
Class of Emission—1 n/a Provides information on the type of radio signal and the data carried. These are alphanumeric codes up to five characters in length. In the context of white space, this field is used to distinguish between RRBS and LPA stations. White space databases are not required to parse these codes in detail; however, if interested, a detailed explanation can be found in Section 7 of Telecommunications Regulation Circular TRC-43, Designation of Emissions, Class of Station and Nature of Service (see Related Documents).
Frequency Status n/a Returns a single digit number representing the authorization status of the assigned frequency. Only records with a frequency status of 6 (active) or 7 (active but with proposed modification) are to be considered. (Status values less than 6 are not yet authorized, whereas status values greater than 7 are no longer authorized.)
Tx Information
Tx Frequency MHz The interpretation of this field depends on system type (see Section 3.4). For RRBSs, this is to be interpreted as the lower band edge. The upper band edge in MHz will be: Tx Frequency + (Necessary Bandwidth—1 / 1000). For all other systems, this field specifies the centre frequency of the transmission. The channel edges will be given by: Tx Frequency +/- ½ (Necessary Bandwidth—1 / 1000).
Tx Antenna Pattern Code n/a Detailed antenna patterns corresponding to these codes can be found under “Antenna Model Browser” at:  http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/sd-sd.nsf/eng/00001.html.
Tx Antenna Gain dBd Note that antenna gains for frequency bands below 960 MHz are given in decibels relative to a dipole antenna (dBd). For bands above 960 MHz, this field specifies gains in decibels relative to an isotropic antenna (dBi).
Tx Total Losses dB Accounts for factors such as feeder line losses.
Tx Antenna Azimuth degrees  
Tx Power dBW  
Tx Antenna Height Above Ground Level metres  
Rx Information
Rx Frequency MHz See explanatory note for Tx Frequency above.
Rx Antenna Gain dBd Note that antenna gains for frequency bands below 960 MHz are given in decibels relative to a dipole antenna (dBd). For bands above 960 MHz, this field specifies gains in decibels relative to an isotropic antenna (dBi).
Rx Antenna Height Above Ground Level metres  
Site and Licence Information
Call sign text Used to validate LPA registration information (e.g. scheduling information) provided directly to WSDBs by LPA licences. See DBS-01 for details on validation criteria.
Station Location text Field provides a text description, e.g. a street address of the licence location. Also used to distinguish between types of LPA users as described in Section 3.4.
Latitude ddmmss Specified in degrees, minutes and seconds of North latitude.
Longitude dddmmss Specified in degrees, minutes and seconds of West longitude.
Site Elevation metres above mean sea level Where no site elevation is specified in Industry Canada’s database (i.e. the field is blank), the station’s local ground elevation should be taken from the digital elevation model (DEM) instead. The DEM ground elevation should only be used in this case, as it is less accurate than the site-specific elevations stored in Industry Canada’s database, due to variations in ground elevation between sampling locations.
Transportable Flag n/a Returns a single digit number where a value of 1 indicates a transportable system. This is used to distinguish between types of LPA licences. (A transportable flag of 1 indicates ENG-Type LPA, see Section 3.4.4.)
Transportable Radius km For transportable (ENG-Type) LPA, this indicates the maximum radius of operation around the specified latitude and longitude.
Company Code and Processing Office n/a This selects both Company Code and the Processing Office fields. The Company Code field is also used to distinguish developmental licences (see Section 4.1).

Industry Canada should be consulted before making use of any fields not specifically identified in Table 1, as the interpretation of other data elements may not be obvious.

Some of the requirements in DBS-01 use a transmitter’s effective radiated power (ERP) in dBW. The maximum ERP can be calculated from the above parameters as follows:

ERPmax = Tx Power – Tx Total Losses + Tx Antenna Gain

Be careful not to confuse values for effective radiated power (ERP) and equivalent isotropically radiated power (e.i.r.p.). ERP is specified relative to a dipole antenna and therefore must use an antenna gain specified in dBd, and not dBi . To find the ERP in a particular direction, the ERPmax value should be adjusted based on the antenna pattern and azimuth in a particular direction.

3.4 Interpretation of Search Results

The search results will include several types of non-broadcasting licensees operating within TV broadcasting frequency bands. This includes remote rural broadband systems (RRBS), licensed low power apparatus (LPA), such as wireless microphones, video cameras and developmental radio stations. The following material will give guidance for filtering search results into the necessary categories for application of Industry Canada’s WSDB specifications.

3.4.1 Exclusions

Users should exclude any search results where:

  • the Frequency Status value does not equal “6” or “7”;
  • the “Tx Frequency” or “Rx Frequency” values exactly equal any of the following: 60 MHz, 88 MHz, 216 MHz, 608 MHz or 698 MHz.

This data represents radio stations that are currently inactive (e.g. either not yet authorized or recently cancelled), or that are adjacent to, but do not make use of, TV band spectrum.

3.4.2 Developmental Licences

Developmental radio service licensees can be identified by their licence account number. In this case, the data field entitled “Company Code,”Footnote 13 which is a nine-digit value, will start with “1000” (i.e. it will be between 100000000 and 100099999). For example, the company code “100000390” represents a developmental licence account, and therefore all licences associated with this account are operating in the developmental radio service. Licences associated with any other type of company code are not operating in the developmental radio service.

3.4.3 Rural Remote Broadband Systems (RRBSs)

RRBS licences meet the following criteria:

  • they are not excluded per Section 3.4.1;
  • they are not developmental radio service stations as noted in Section 3.4.2;
  • specified “Tx Frequency” value is in either the 512-608 MHz or 614-698 MHz frequency range and is not blank;
  • specified “Rx Frequency” value is in either the 512-608 MHz or 614-698 MHz frequency range and is not blank;
  • the indicated “Necessary Bandwidth-1” value is either 6000 kHz or 12000 kHz;
  • the field “Class of Emission-1” always begins with “D7W” or “D7D”.

RRBSs normally use frequency division duplexing (FDD). This means that a different frequency is used for communications from the base station to subscriber stations (downstream) as compared with communications from subscriber stations to the base station (upstream). Station licence parameters specified for RRBS stations pertain only to the base station (i.e. subscriber stations are not explicitly listed). When applying the interference protection criteria in DBS-01, use the listed “Tx frequency” value for the downstream direction, and the listed “Rx frequency” value for the upstream direction.

In some cases, an RRBS may use time division duplexing (TDD). In these cases, the “Tx Frequency” value will be the same as the “Rx Frequency” value, and the same frequency should be used for both upstream and downstream directions when applying the DBS-01 criteria.

3.4.4 Low-Power Apparatus (LPA)

LPA licences meet the following criteria:

  • they are not excluded per Section 3.4.1;
  • they are not developmental radio service stations as noted in Section 3.4.2;
  • the indicated “Necessary Bandwidth-1” value is less than or equal to 200 kHz or is 6000 kHz.Footnote 14

In addition to the above criteria, consideration must be given to the fact that Industry Canada’s licence information database provides information for three types of LPA licensee: fixed LPA systems, “roaming” LPA, and ENG-typeFootnote 15 LPA.

Any fixed LPA must operate at the same location and use the actual frequency identified on the related licence.

A “Roaming” LPA operates in areas defined as being within metropolitan areas, “province-wide” or even “Canada wide,” where a licensee anticipates a need to use its LPA at a sequence of locations found across a wide area (e.g. travelling concerts, shows, churches, etc.), but cases where there is advance knowledge of where and when the LPA will be operated.

Similar to “roaming” LPA, ENG-type LPA may indicate “wide-area” operation (e.g. province-wide or Canada-wide), and associated licenses may also be authorized for use of multiple or even a range of TV band frequencies.

“Roaming” or ENG-Type LPA can be distinguished by a “Transportable Flag” of 1. Any other LPA should be considered as fixed LPA. In some cases, fixed LPA may have a non-zero value for “Transportable Radius,” in which case, the radius is typically a low value, such as one kilometre. For Fixed LPA, the Transportable Radius may be added to the margin of error for LPA registration specified in DBS-01.

When reviewing licensed LPA station data, the frequency listed in either the “Tx Frequency” and/or the “Rx Frequency” field is eligible for interference protection from WSDs. These frequency values may not be the same and, in some cases, one of these fields may even be blank. If so, the blank frequency field may be ignored.

Note that the information in Industry Canada’s licence database is not sufficient for determining the protection requirements for licensed LPA. This information is to be used together with registration of operational and scheduling information in the white space database as specified in DBS-01.

Refer to DBS-01 for definitive validation rules, as fixed LPA and ENG-Type LPA are treated somewhat differently.

3.4.5 Other Results

Any licences that are not explicitly excluded per Section 3.4.1, but do not meet the criteria for sections 3.4.2 through 3.4.4, should be considered as anomalous data and Industry Canada would greatly appreciate these being brought to the attention of departmental officials.

4. Certified Device Data (Radio Equipment List)

The search interface for review of certified (also known as “type approved”) Canadian radio apparatus is provided via Industry Canada’s Radio Equipment List (REL), available at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/app/sitt/reltel/srch/nwRdSrch.do?lang=eng.

Figure 3—Screenshot of Radio Equipment List Search Interface

Figure 3 – Screenshot of Radio Equipment List Search Interface (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 3

Figure 3 shows a screen shot of the REL search interface for the case of an Advanced Search. Various criteria have to be inputted before the search can be carried out. The fields to be defined are: Company Number (Alphanumeric); Model (Alphanumeric); Certification Number (Alphanumeric); Radio Specification (BETS99 – RSS999); Lower Frequency (MHz) (0 – 99999); Upper Frequency (MHz) (0 – 99999); Occupied Bandwidth (kHz) (0 - 99999); Emission Code (Alphanumeric); Lower Power (Watts) (0 - 99999); and Upper Power (Watts) (0 - 99999). The user has to select criteria for the sorting of results and the maximum number of search results to be returned. Two buttons are provided; one to initiate a search and the other to reset the search criteria.


Figure 3 shows a screenshot of the REL search interface.

The REL search interface is not designed for automated computer access. Therefore WSDBAs will be responsible for obtaining needed equipment data directly from the REL web interface. The asterisk (*) may be entered as a wildcard search parameter when submitting a query in the REL search interface. All search fields containing data from both the basic and advanced tabs will be used as search criteria, regardless of whether the basic or advanced search tab is active when the “Search” button is selected.

There will be a description for the device operation under the Category Code which will distinguish between a fixed WSD and a portable WSD, as shown below:

  • Fixed WSD: “TVWS device fixed”
  • Portable WSD: “TVWS device portable”

There are two options for accessing Radio Equipment List information as described in the following sections.

4.1 Option 1 — Download of the Complete List of Certified WSDs

Under this option, the WSDBA may download the complete list of certified WSDs and retain this information locally. If this option is used, then the WSDBA must repeat this query once every 24 hours (the exact time at which this is done is not important) in order to obtain accurate equipment certification information.

When following this approach, the “Advanced Search” tab should be used. In the “Radio Specification” field, enter the search term “RSS222” exactly as specified hereFootnote 16 (i.e. with no additional punctuation or spaces). The other query fields should be left blank. It is suggested that users set the “Sort By” field to “certification number” to prevent the search results from being partitioned into multiple sub-lists. The “Maximum # of Results Returned” field should be set to the largest available value.Footnote 17

The search results will be a list of WSD model, certification number and approval dates sorted by certification number. It should not be necessary to check any of the model-specific information that is linked from this list.

4.2 Option 2 — Query of the Certification Status of a Particular WSD

When following this approach, the WSDBA will use the REL search functionality to confirm that a particular WSD has been certified for use in Canada. When using this option, the WSDB must already have a record of the Industry Canada equipment certification number for the WSD being checked.

Using either the “Basic Search” or “Advanced Search” option, the WSDBA should search for the certification number of the WSD in question.Footnote 18

The certification number is in the form: IC: XXXXXX-YYYYYYYYYYY.

  • “XXXXXX” is the Company Number (CN) assigned by Industry Canada, made of a maximum of 6 alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9), including a letter at the end of the CN to distinguish between different company addresses;
  • “YYYYYYYYYYY” is the Unique Product Number (UPN) assigned by the applicant, including a maximum of 11 alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9); and
  • the letters “IC” have no other meaning or purpose than to identify the Industry Canada certification number.

The YYYYYYYYYYY portion of the number should be entered in the certification number field. In the “Radio Specification” field, enter the search term “RSS222” exactly as specified here (i.e. with no punctuation or spaces). The company name and model fields should be left blank.Footnote 19 With Option 2, any value may be used in the “Sort By” and “Maximum # of Results Returned” fields.

If the WSD is certified, then the query result should return the term “1 model(s) found” and provide a single table entry with a hyperlink for more information.