Baofeng Radio Legality


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.

Canadian Law

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 [email protected] and we will help you out.


10 thoughts on “Baofeng Radio Legality

  1. Jika Toki says:

    Hi, I am planning to buy the Baofeng Radios for my family. We are usually going out for camping, road trips and hunting. My primary objective is to use the radio for communication with family members and friends. I found out that I can use the Baofeng radio to communicate with FRS/GMRS frequencies (like walkie talkies motorola, Cobra and Uniden radios that can be bought from Bestbuy). I chose Baofeng Radios as it is cheaper, can be used for emergencies, FM capable, Emergency channels etc…

    I am located in Ontario Canada. Do you think I am in legal side using this Baofeng radios in these purposes as mentioned above? The radio looks cool, compact and a bit tactical to use.

    • Eric Pinkerton says:

      The radios are over powered for Family Band and lack the approval of authorities for transmission on FRS or GMRS in Canada.

  2. Orbit says:

    Can i use the baofeng radio to connect to the family walkie talkie in FRS and GMRS without violating any laws in Canada or even in USA when travelling?

    • Eric Pinkerton says:

      The Baofeng radios are over powered and lack the approvals from Canadian authorities to transmit on the Family Band.

  3. Zuki says:

    Hi I understand about Baofeng radios what you said Eric but if I set up radio on 2 W can I use in GMRS mode ofc with proper frequencies ?

    • Eric Pinkerton says:

      Hi Zuki,

      According to Industry Canada, and the Radio Communications Act these radios can only be used on HAM frequencies. Any other use would be in contravention of the Radio Communications Act.

  4. Jacky says:

    Hi, Eric,

    I m a Airsoft player, me and my friends bought some used boaFeng uv5r.
    So if we only use the radio within the HAM, are we use them legally?
    If not, is there any way that we could use them legally?

    Thank you.

    • John says:

      If you and ALL your airsoft friends each hold a valid Amateur Radio License, then yes, if not, then NO.
      Be warned, hams will protect their frequencies, if each you use your radios with out the proper license, the hams will track you down and report you to the government, penalties are sever, choose wisely. You would be better off buying FRS radios, buy enough at one time and you would might get a slight discount.

  5. Jacky says:


    I m a Airsoft player, me and my friends bought some used boaFeng uv5r.
    So if we only use the radio within the HAM, are we use them legally?
    If not, is there any way that we could use them legally?

    Thank you.

  6. rain says:

    just to confirm, but assuming i only used said baofeng to transmit on the 70cm and 2m ham bands that its capable of reaching, that would be legal, correct? so long as i dont transmit on frs or other non ham bands, it should be ok? as far as i know, in the US, the baofengs are outright illegal to use on any frequency for transmission, irregardles of if it is used intierly within the ham bands. all this assuming the operator has their ham license.

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