There is a lot of information out there about the legal use of the Baofeng UV-5R and similar radios in Canada. Staff at Rapid Survival have discussed this topic with a subject matter expert and have written this blog post to help educate users.
It is important to point out that Canadian law is different then the American law. American Law is often cited when discussing the use of the Baofeng radios.
All radios that operate within Canada require certification. There is one exemption. When they are built by someone in possession of an advanced amateur (HAM) radio licence they do not require certification. When a radio is built by an Advanced HAM licence holder that radio can only be operated on HAM frequencies.
Radios that transmit on specific frequencies such as the Family Band (FRS) or GMRS frequencies require appropriate licencing. In order to legally transmit on those bands the radio requires a certification from Industry Canada. Amateur radios are not certified, they cannot ever be authorized as per section 4 of the Radio Communications Act for use outside ham bands.
The Baofeng family of radios is considered to be an amateur (HAM) radio and does NOT have the required certifications to transmit outside of HAM radio frequencies.
The onus is upon the end user to comply with proper certification to operate radios within Canada.
The Baofeng radios can not legally be used to transmit outside of HAM frequencies, unless the operator holds the appropriate certifications.
Amateur (HAM) radio licences can be obtained from Industry Canada, see our blog post that contains HAM radio licencing resources.
Using a Baofeng Radio As a Scanner
Canadian law allows for listening (scanning) radio frequencies. Scanning is generally permitted other than decryption of encoded transmissions.
If you have a Baofeng radio and utilize it it listen to local weather repeaters, emergency services, etc that is totally legal.
In the case you don’t hold the appropriate licencing or certifications it would be wise to ensure your radio is locked out from transmitting, especially on local emergency services frequencies. If you need assistance with completing this task feel free to send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you out.