Public Notice CRTC 2000-11

Ottawa, 24 January 2000

Exemption order respecting public emergency radio undertakings


The Commission sets out an exemption order concerning low-power AM and FM public emergency radio undertakings which is attached as an Appendix.


1. In Public Notice CRTC 1999-169, the Commission called for comments on a proposed exemption order for low-power radio emergency messaging systems for use by police, emergency personnel, military and fire departments to alert the public to natural disasters, emergency road conditions and major accidents, industrial threats, evacuations and search and rescue.

Comments received

2. The Commission has reviewed the comments that were submitted with regard to this exemption order. Transport Canada – Civil Aviation expressed concern that exempting mobile FM transmitters would result in an increased likelihood of interference which could reduce the safety of air navigation services and air-ground communications. These concerns were echoed by NAV Canada. The Canadian Association of Broadcasters also noted the potential of such undertakings to incrementally increase the interference levels in the AM and FM bands in many areas of Canada.

3. The Commission shares the concerns of these parties that these undertakings be operated at all times in compliance with the regulations made under the Radiocommunication Act. It reminds operators of these undertakings of paragraph one of the exemption order which reads as follows:

The undertaking meets all technical requirements of the Department of Industry and has acquired all authorizations or certificates prescribed by that Department.

4. Therefore, regardless of whether the Commission issues a licence to an undertaking or exempts it pursuant to an exemption order, it still must fulfil its obligations under the Radiocommunication Act.

5. One party suggested that the Commission update its language in paragraph number 7 of the proposed exemption order where the wording made reference to programming provided "on a tape-delayed basis." The Commission has changed the term "tape-delayed" to "pre-recorded."

6. One party also suggested that the time limit for generating such an undertaking be increased from 7 days to 28 days, as an emergency could conceivably last for more than a 7-day period. The Commission is of the view that this exemption order is for short-term emergencies, and is not convinced that the time limit needs to be increased. In all likelihood, any emergency that did exist beyond this period would be covered by conventional radio and television stations. Consequently, the Commission will allow such emergency transmitters to operate for a period of up to seven days for each particular emergency.


Secretary General

This notice is available in alternative format upon request, and may also be viewed at the following Internet site:


Exemption order respecting public emergency radio undertakings

The Commission pursuant to subsection 9(4) of the Broadcasting Act, by this order, exempts from the requirement of Part ll of the Act and any regulations, those persons carrying on broadcasting undertakings of the class defined by the following criteria:


The purpose of these radio programming undertakings is to provide information related to public emergencies, such as natural disasters and major accidents, to those immediately affected.


1. The undertaking meets all technical requirements of the Department of Industry and has acquired all authorizations or certificates prescribed by that Department.

2. The undertaking operates between 525 and 1705 kHz in the AM frequency band or between 88 and 107.5 MHz in the FM frequency band.

3. The undertaking broadcasts at a power of 5 watts or less transmitter power for AM or with an Effective Radiated Power (ERP) of 5 watts or less for FM.

4. The undertaking is operated by a member, in their capacity as such, of a police department, fire department or any organization designated by a federal, provincial or municipal government as being responsible for the coordination of emergency relief.

5. The programming provided by the undertaking is information and instruction regarding a public emergency.

6. The programming provided by the undertaking contains no music or advertising material.

7. The programming is live or pre-recorded and, if the latter, is broadcast within 24 hours of the original recording.

8. The undertaking broadcasts its programming over a period of not more than seven consecutive days.

9. The undertaking does not broadcast programming that is religious or political in nature.

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