Spectrum and Telecommunications Service Standards

August 2007
Updated March 2024


1. Our commitment to you

This document outlines Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s (ISED) standards for service, including:

  • the time required to process radio and spectrum licence applications
  • the time required to investigate harmful interference to radiocommunication
  • the time required to assess radio equipment certification applications, and to register equipment
  • the time required to issue radio operator certificates

We will strive to meet our service standards and to provide prompt and courteous service to all our applicants and licensees.

Should delays occur, we will explain the reason for the delay, establish a new in-service date with you, and provide an opportunity to discuss the matter.

2. Your role

You can help us meet our service commitment to you by:

  • ensuring your account is in good standing
  • ensuring that your application is complete and accurate before submitting it to us
  • providing all necessary supporting information
  • signing, where necessary, your application forms

You can use our Spectrum Management System for a wide range of services, including submitting licence applications and tracking their progress.

3. Service standards at a glance

The timeframes indicated in the table below apply only once you have submitted a complete radio or spectrum licence application that includes all of the required information. Service standards may be extended in specific circumstances as noted below.

While we strive to update this webpage as new service standards are established through consultations, please note that in the case of discrepancies, the service standards in the most recent decision documents take precedence over the information contained on this webpage.

ISED Spectrum and Telecommunications Service Standards
Service standard Number of calendar days
Radio licences
Aeronautical: Aeronautical base stations 49
Aeronautical: Aeronautical mobile stations (i.e. aircraft) 21
Fixed (e.g. microwave):
  • Point-to-point
  • Point-to-multipoint
  • Point-to-transportable
  • Transportable to transportable
Land mobile: Base-mobile systems 49
Land mobile: Mobile only 49
Land mobile: Light-licensed mobiles 21
Land mobile: Radiodetermination 49
Maritime: Maritime base stations 49
Maritime: Maritime mobile stations (i.e. vessel) 21
Spectrum licences
Satellite: Space stations 126
Satellite: Generic earth stations 126
Satellite: Site-specific earth stations 77
Non-competitive Local Licences: First-come, first-served, with an established fee 84
Terrestrial: Other non-auctioned licences with an established fee 28
Equipment certification and registration
Wireless equipment certification 14
Wireless equipment recertification 14
Equipment registration 14
Equipment registration amendment 14
Other activities
Harmful interference investigations 84
Issuance of new amateur or professional radio operator certificates 28
Site approvals of earth stations under a spectrum licence 49
Approval of additional sites under an existing spectrum licence for earth stations requiring site approval 49

4. Radio and spectrum licensing

Once you submit a complete radio or spectrum licence application, we will process it within the service standard timeframes indicated in the table above. These timeframes apply only once we have received all of the required information.

Service standards may be extended in specific circumstances, as noted below.

4.1 Negotiated due dates

Some licence applications are very complex, involving multiple frequencies and numerous stations, and as a result, may require additional time to process. In such cases, we will contact you to discuss your application and establish a mutually agreeable due date. The service standard then becomes the agreed-upon date.

4.2 Coordination of frequencies

If your proposed radio station will be located near an international border area or will use frequencies that require coordination with a foreign administration or another agency, the issuance of your licence may be delayed pending the outcome of their process. Delays due to the activities of foreign administrations or other agencies are beyond ISED’s control and will extend our service standards.

If you would like to discuss the coordination process and its impact on your application, contact your nearest Spectrum Management District Office.

4.3 Licensing for the satellite service

The licensing procedures outlined in Client Procedures Circulars CPC-2-6-01 (for fixed earth stations), CPC-2-6-02 (for space stations), CPC-2-6-03 (for generic earth stations) and CPC-2-6-04 (for foreign-licensed satellites in Canada) provide further information, including delays that may occur due to domestic and international coordination.

5. Investigating interference to radiocommunication systems

We will provide you or your radio service representative with advice on how to identify sources of radio interference. We may also investigate the problem and take appropriate actions.

Note that we will respond to interference situations involving safety-related communication systems on a priority basis.

5.1 Harmful interference and on-site visits

According to the Radiocommunication Act, harmful interference is a radio signal or other electromagnetic energy that endangers the use or functioning of a safety-related radiocommunication system or that significantly degrades, obstructs or repeatedly interrupts the use or functioning of radio apparatus.

Where possible, ISED uses radio monitoring equipment and computer analysis to help identify sources of harmful radio interference. When a report of harmful radio interference is received, ISED will:

  • request specific information from you in order to make an initial assessment (see “Your role in interference investigations” below)
  • provide advice to you or your radio service representative to help identify the source of the interference
  • initiate, where required, a technical investigation to identify the source of the interference
  • advise you of the results of our investigation within 84 calendar days (12 weeks), as shown in the table above

We will consider the need for on-site visits on a case-by-case basis, depending on the nature of the radio interference and how often it occurs, as well as actions already taken to attempt a resolution of the problem.

5.2 Non-harmful interference

Non-harmful interference, although annoying, does not significantly degrade or prevent desired radiocommunications. In such cases, we will assist you by discussing the problem and recommending appropriate courses of action for your consideration.

5.3 Your role in interference investigations

Before contacting us, please ask your radio service representative to confirm that your radio equipment is installed and functioning properly, and that it is operating in compliance with the technical parameters and conditions of your radio or spectrum licence.

If your radio service representative cannot help you, please provide us with the following information to help us identify the source of your radio interference:

  • your radio or spectrum licence number
  • the radio frequency being affected and if any squelch tone is used
  • the name and telephone number of your radio service representative
  • the name and telephone number of a contact person familiar with the reported interference problem
  • the actions you and your radio service representative have taken to address the problem
  • the date and time that the radio interference started and how often it occurs
  • the type of sound, voice or other noise being heard (if you hear a voice, please note the time, location and content of the information you hear)

If only mobile radio stations are being affected, note the geographic area(s) where the radio interference problem seems to be the most severe.

During an on-site visit, please ensure that someone familiar with the reported interference problem is available to assist us.

6. Equipment certification

In addition to issuing radio and spectrum licences and investigating interference problems, ISED’s Certification and Engineering Bureau (CEB) sets technical certification standards for radio and terminal equipment sold, imported and distributed in Canada to ensure compatibility among all radio spectrum users and to minimize the occurrence of radiocommunication interference.

The table above shows our service standards for application assessments, equipment reassessments, registration and listing.

An e-filing service is available through our Spectrum Management System to facilitate the certification of radio equipment and the registration of terminal equipment.

7. Radio operator certificates

The table above shows our service standards for the issuance of new amateur and professional radio operator certificates. You can help us meet our service commitment to you by always submitting complete applications.

For faster service, take advantage of our online option for the submission of applications, available through our Amateur radio operator certificates services or Professional radio operator certificate services.

8. If you are not satisfied with our service

We expect to meet our service standards, however, if you feel that we have not done so, please let us know by contacting the person who served you to find out why.

If you do not know the name of the person who served you, or if you are not satisfied with the explanation provided, you may discuss the matter with the district manager or director who will investigate the matter and get back to you as quickly as possible.