Annual adjustments for spectrum and telecommunications fees — Questions and answers

1. What is the Service Fees Act?

  • The Service Fees Act (SFA) is Canadian legislation that increases transparency, accountability and predictability regarding service fees that the Government of Canada charges to Canadians.
  • The SFA helps ensure that the fees federal departments and agencies charge Canadians remain current and better reflect the costs of delivering related services.
  • The Government of Canada introduced the SFA in 2017 to replace the User Fees Act.
  • All government departments and agencies that charge fees for services (including Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada) are subject to this legislation.

2. Since the implementation of the Service Fees Act, what changed for radio and spectrum licensees and those seeking equipment certification services?

  • Starting in 2019-2020, ISED began adjusting fees charged for radio and spectrum licences and fees charged for equipment certification services based on the All-items Consumer Price Index published by Statistics Canada.
  • Service standards were put in place for all services for which ISED charges a fee. Existing service standards did not change.

3. How do my fees change each year?

  • Fees are adjusted by a rate that is set one year in advance and is based on Statistics Canada’s April All-items Consumer Price Index (CPI). For example, the rate implemented during the fiscal year 2019-2020 was the April 2017 to April 2018 CPI. Visit Statistics Canada’s website for more information.

4. Why is Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) Spectrum and Telecommunications changing the Consumer Price Index anniversary date?

5. How does the change in anniversary date affect my fees?

  • To remain compliant with the Service Fees Act, we will apply a 2% increase March 31, 2021, followed by a 0.2% decrease, the next day, April 1, 2021. The two adjustments must be made one after the other (i.e. compounded). These two compounded adjustments are not the same as a 1.8% increase.

6. Will my fees change every year?

  • Each year, your new fees will be recalculated using the previous year’s fees, adjusted by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  • For example:
Examples of fee adjustments
Fees applicable for fiscal year 2019-2020 Fees applicable for fiscal year 2020-2021 Fees applicable for fiscal year 2021-2022 Fees applicable for fiscal year 2022-2023
Fee Adjustment Fee amount ($)


(As per the Radiocommunication Regulations)
Fee amount ($)


(Previous fee amount adjusted by 2.2% on March 31, 2020)
Fee amount ($) for March 31, 2021
(Previous fee amount adjusted by 2.0% on March 31, 2021)
Fee amount ($)


(Previous fee amount adjusted by -0.2% on April 1, 2021)
Fee amount ($)


(Previous fee amount adjusted on April 1, 2022)
Annual licence
renewal fee
$41.00 $41.00 adjusted by CPI = $41.90 $41.90 adjusted by CPI = $42.74 $42.74 adjusted by CPI = $42.65 $42.65 adjusted by CPI

7. How can I know what my fees will be next year?

  • Licence fees are calculated using the fee amounts per frequency and/or per equipment in your radio system. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada will calculate the amount on your invoice using the individually adjusted fee rates. Only the final licence fee will appear on your invoice. You may estimate next year's fees by adjusting your invoiced amount by the Consumer Price Index applicable.
  • Fees for services related to equipment certification are also adjusted individually before the invoice is calculated.

8. What fees are used if I apply for a new licence or make a change to an existing one, and receive an invoice in March for an in-service date of April 1 or later?

  • Fees are based on the in-service date of a licence, not the date of your transaction with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. Your in-service date is in April, so your licence fee will be based on the applicable fees set out for April 1.

9. What happens if I have a temporary licence that starts on March 15 and ends on April 15 of the same year?

  • Fees are based on the in-service date of a licence. In this case, the fees for your temporary licence will be based on the fees applicable in March.

10. Will Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) update other official publications to reflect the Service Fees Act (SFA) changes?

11. Will Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) update the Radiocommunication Regulations yearly to reflect the new fees?

12. What is a remission?

  • A remission is a portion of a fee that is returned to an affected fee-payer when a service standard is not met.
  • As per the Service Fees Act, and based on Treasury Board policy effective April 1, 2021, if a department or agency does not meet a particular service standard, it will issue a remission (that is, return a portion of the fee associated with the transaction).
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s remission policy determines under what circumstances it will issue a remission.
  • Those entitled to a remission will receive it by July 1 of the following fiscal year.