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BPR-1 — General Rules

Issue 7
Posted on February 22, 2016


Issue 7 of BPR-1 is hereby released.

Listed below are the changes:

  1. The application procedures have been moved to each of the other Broadcast Procedures and Rules documents.
  2. WGS84 (World Geodetic System 1984) is defined as the new standard for geographical coordinates.
  3. The section related to the On-Air Testing Procedure has been updated.
  4. A new file format has been established for antenna patterns.
  5. Other updates have been made, including editorial changes.

Issued under the authority of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

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Daniel Duguay
Director General
Engineering, Planning and Standards Branch

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Peter Hill
Director General
Spectrum Management Operations Branch

Broadcasting Procedures and Rules (BPR)

The Radiocommunication Act stipulates that no radio apparatus that forms part of a broadcasting undertaking may be installed or operated without a broadcasting certificate issued by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). Pursuant to paragraphs 5(1)(a) and (d) of the Radiocommunication Act, the Minister is empowered to fix the terms and conditions of the broadcasting certificate and to establish technical requirements and standards in relation to broadcasting undertakings.

This document prescribes required information for filing applications for broadcasting certificates and specifies technical standards and requirements, as well as operational terms and conditions applicable to broadcasting undertakings.

Broadcasting Procedures and Rules consists of six parts: Part 1, entitled General Rules, sets out technical requirements and application procedures common to all broadcasting undertakings. Parts 2, 3, 4, 9 and 10 set forth specific requirements applicable to AM, FM, analogue TV, terrestrial S-DARS and digital television (DTV) respectively.

The content of these documents notwithstanding, ISED may authorize certain minor departures from standards and operational requirements specified herein, when it is shown that quality of service will not be compromised and that harmful interference will not occur.

1. Application Procedure and Subsequent Action

This section establishes the procedure to be followed in preparing and submitting information required in support of applications for broadcasting undertakings.

1.1 Procedure for Submission by Qualified Personnel

Planning and design of new broadcasting undertakings, changes to existing systems, as well as the preparation of engineering briefs submitted in support of applications for designs or design changes, constitute the practice of professional engineering. It is the responsibility of the person signing the submission to comply with appropriate provincial legislation insofar as the practice of professional engineering is concerned.

ISED requires that the design of a proposed system or proposed changes to an existing system be carried out under the responsible supervision of a professional engineer who shall certify the adequacy of the design by affixing his/her signature and stamp to the engineering brief when this brief is sent to the Department in paper format. A signed electronic version of the engineering brief in PDF format can also be sent to the Department with the application.

When submitting an application to ISED, the applicant shall follow the rules as described in the appropriate Broadcast Procedures and Rules document.

Where low-power broadcasting undertakings are concerned, the Department may, in specific circumstances, waive its requirement that technical submissions be prepared by broadcasting engineering consultants, provided that qualified technical staff prepare and sign the submission.

1.2 Application Processing

An application to the Department for a broadcasting certificate shall be accompanied by an application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a broadcasting licence. If a confirmation of the CRTC application is not received within 30 days, the technical application will be returned to the applicant. This does not apply to terrestrial S-DARS or to applications meeting CRTC exemption criteria.

If the submission is found to be missing information, or is incomplete or incorrect, the applicant and/or consultant will be so notified and the CRTC will be advised accordingly. If the required information is not supplied within the period of time specified in the departmental letter (normally 30 to 45 days), the application will be returned.

Although the CRTC has established criteria to exempt certain categories of AM, FM, TV, and cable systems from the requirements of CRTC licensing, for spectrum management reasons the Department maintains separate exemption criteria based on equipment standards. CRTC licence-exempt broadcasting/receiving undertakings must still meet the relevant BPRs, and must obtain radio authorizations in the form of broadcasting certificates to operate unless these undertakings also meet the applicable ISED exemption criteria.

ISED exemption criteria for broadcasting and receiving undertakings are available online under the Department’s Broadcasting Certificate Exempt Radio Apparatus List.

1.3 Application for Call Signs

An application for a call sign for a new broadcasting undertaking shall be made in writing to the Department at the time of application for the broadcasting certificate. To request a change of call sign for an existing undertaking, an application also needs to be made in writing.

A listing of unassigned basic call signs is available on the Department’s Broadcasting Database webpage.

The rules pertaining to call signs are contained in Section 7, Assignment and Identification Requirements for AM, FM, and TV Broadcasting Undertakings.

1.4 On-Air Testing Procedure

On-air testing assures that the broadcasting undertaking will operate in accordance with the approved technical brief and the issued Letter of Approval (LOA), and that the required protection is being given to broadcasting undertakings and radio systems, especially those involved with safety-of-life: aeronautical navigational and communications (NAV/COM) systems.

Following approval by ISED and by the CRTC (where applicable) and prior to undertaking construction, any changes to the approved proposal (e.g. site, parameters, equipment etc.) shall be submitted to the Department for authorization.

Departmental authorization is required for on-air testing. When construction of the approved facilities is complete, a request for on-air testing shall be made to the local ISED District Office (see Annex A) at least three weeks (unless otherwise specified in the Letter of Approval) prior to transmission tests.

1.4.1 Identification of the Broadcast Undertaking

During on-air testing, identification of the broadcast undertaking will be made at 15-minute intervals, giving as a minimum the call sign, frequency and location of the undertaking. In the case of rebroadcasting undertakings without capability to originate the aforementioned information, the broadcaster will be responsible for making the public aware that the new undertaking is being tested. As an example, a notice could be placed in the local press which would explain that the undertaking is testing, and a means of contact, such as a telephone number, be given in the event of interference. The notice should be published for the duration of the on-air testing period, starting on the day the test is scheduled to begin.

The period for on-air testing shall be a minimum of three weeks and a maximum of six weeks, unless otherwise authorized by the Department. If interference or other problems materialize, this period may be extended pending satisfactory resolution of said problems.

Within four months of the successful completion of on-air testing, the applicant shall certify to the Department under the authorized approval of a qualified professional engineer, that the broadcasting undertaking is ready to commence operation in accordance with the approved technical submission, and request permission to commence operation. For low-power undertakings, it is recognized in certain situations that the certification may also be provided by qualified technical staff as per Section 1.1.

1.4.2 On-Air Testing for AM broadcasting undertakings

When construction of the approved facilities is complete, an applicant for an AM broadcasting undertaking shall request an on-air testing authorization from the local ISED District Office, which will include requirements for initial antenna tuning and adjustment. Should interference or other problems materialize during the antenna tuning and adjustment, satisfactory resolution of said problems will be required.

During this period, identification of the broadcast undertaking is required as per Section 1.4.1. After the AM broadcasting undertaking has completed tuning and adjustment and is ready for on-air testing, a request to begin on-air testing shall be made to the local ISED District Office.

The applicant shall also submit a Proof of Performance to the Department as described in Broadcasting Procedures and Rules Part 2: Application Procedures and Rules for AM Broadcasting Undertakings (BPR-2). Following successful on-air testing and approval of the submitted Proof of Performance, the Department shall notify the applicant that it may commence regular programming. If a Preliminary Proof of Performance was submitted in order to commence regular programming, the applicant shall submit a Final Proof of Performance within four months of the approval of their Preliminary Proof of Performance.

1.4.3 As-Built Changes

It is recognized that in many cases the final installation may not be exactly as described in the original technical submission. In such cases, the required certification shall clearly describe all changes from the original submission and shall include, if applicable, revised pages for the technical brief (or an addendum describing the changes), a revised coverage contour map and a comparative contour map if applicable. The Department will then determine if an application for a change of facilities is required. Note that, depending on the changes made, the CRTC may independently require the submission of an application. The applicant should contact the Commission for advice if required.

1.5 Broadcasting Allotment Plans

ISED maintains allotment plans and related information for AM, FM and TV, along with information about assignments, on the Broadcasting Database webpage.

For the DTV allotment plan, see the Allotment Plans webpage.

The Department in its role as spectrum manager, may make changes to the Canadian Broadcasting Allotment Plans based on technical considerations. Please note that a broadcasting certificate shall not be construed as conferring any right to continued tenure in respect of the channel assigned to the broadcasting undertaking.

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2. Antenna-Supporting Structure and Siting Considerations

Applicants proposing to erect a new antenna structure or to modify an existing structure must comply with requirements set out in the Client Procedures Circular (CPC-2-0-03), Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems — as may be amended — available on the Department’s website.

2.1 Land-Use Authority and Public Consultation

Unless the broadcasting proposal is excluded from land-use authority and public consultations (see CPC-2-0-03 for details), the following applies:

For applications already approved by the CRTC or those meeting CRTC exemption criteria, the broadcasting applicant may proceed immediately to public and land-use authority consultation as described in CPC-2-0-03.

All other applications are subject to CRTC licensing processes in addition to ISED requirements and, as such, broadcasting applicants may opt to commence public and land-use authority consultations after having received CRTC approval. However, broadcasting applicants choosing this option are required, at the time of the CRTC application, to notify the land-use authority via Letter of Intent (see Annex D), with a commitment to conduct any required consultations after receiving CRTC approval. A copy of the Letter of Intent shall be sent to ISED. If the land-use authority raises concerns about the proposal as described in the Letter of Intent, the applicant is encouraged to engage in discussions with the land-use authority about those concerns, and to attempt to resolve any issues.

The Department’s technical acceptability will be subject to the successful completion of the consultation process and the Department’s Letter of Approval will be sent only when the Department has been informed that the consultation process as per CPC-2-0-03 has been completed successfully.

2.2 Exposure to Radio Frequency (RF) Energy

As outlined in Client Procedures Circular CPC-2-0-03, it is the responsibility of proponents and/or operators of installations to ensure that all radiocommunication and broadcasting antenna systems comply with Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 (SC6) guidelines entitled Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy in the Frequency Range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz to assure the protection of the general public at all times. To this end and in addition to relevant requirements set forth in CPC-2-0-03, the engineering brief submitted in support of an application for a broadcasting certificate shall contain an analysis of the RF exposure levels produced by the new or modified transmitting facility. Details of the RF exposure evaluation procedure are given in Section 8 of this document.

2.3 Immunity-type Interference

Broadcast receivers and associated equipment, as well as radio-sensitive equipment in proximity of a broadcast transmitting site can experience immunity-type interference. Broadcasters are to ensure that their installations are designed and operated in such a way that such interference is minimized. The departmental document EMCAB-2 has defined field strength levels that can be used as a guideline in making determinations for these types of interference situations; the service-specific BPRs address this issue in more detail.

2.4 Other Factors Affecting Site Selection

Each service has specific factors that may affect site selection; for example, strong adjacent channel signals, intermodulation, interference to other services, proximity to nearby structures, etc. Refer to the service-specific BPR document for more information.

2.5 Broadcasters’ Responsibility

Applicants are required to consider the population that may be affected by the types of interference described in sections 2.3 and 2.4. Furthermore, if there is potential for large developments in the area, the impact on future residents should also be considered. Broadcasters are responsible for solving certain interference problems in the vicinity of their installations. Refer to the service-specific BPR for details.

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3. Preparation of Coverage Maps

The engineering briefs in support of applications for new broadcasting undertakings, or for changes in the facilities of existing undertakings shall include service contours as prescribed under the relevant broadcasting application procedure. These service contours shall be submitted either in paper or in electronic format. Preparation of the contour maps is described in this Section.

The maps are used by the Department for its technical evaluation of the proposal.  The Department will make electronic copies of these maps available for circulation to broadcasting consultants, the CRTC, the broadcasting industry, and other interested agencies.

3.1 Preparation of Contour Maps

 Contour maps must have all features clearly legible. The recommended electronic format for contour maps should have a minimal resolution of 300 dpi over a printed area of 11” X 14”.

The following is a summary of the requirements:

  1. Geographic coordinate information shall appear on at least two adjacent edges of maps supplied with a minimal accuracy of 1 degree (for both latitude and longitude).
  2. A dimensional scale shall also be clearly shown.
  3. Antenna location shall be plotted and marked with a cross with geographical coordinates, precise to one-second accuracy.
  4. All contours shall be clearly labelled. The preferred technique is to place labels along the contour lines, thereby avoiding arrows.
  5. A title block of minimal dimensions representing an area of 10% of the total map, shall preferably be placed in the lower right-hand corner. It should contain sufficient information to identify the proposal. A stamp by a professional engineer should be placed beside the title block. An acceptable block is illustrated below:

    Name of Broadcasting Engineer Consultant space to insert full name

    Applicant's Name
    Proposed Location of Undertaking
    Call Sign

    Parameters of Proposed Operation (freq. or channel; average
    e.r.p.; class; mode of operation, etc.)

    Date Map Prepared          Signature or Initials

  6. In cases of proposed changes to facilities, AM to FM conversions, and analog to digital conversions, a map showing comparative contours shall be s ubmitted. Refer to the service-specific BPR for details.

3.2 Notes

  1. For paper contour representations, Natural Resources Canada (Surveys and Mapping Branch) maps shall normally be used in the submission, with a scale consistent with the extent of the contour and the format required. However, should more up-to-date official provincial government maps be available, these may be used when for instance, there is particular significance in determining the most recent metropolitan area limits.
  2. Computer-generated contour maps are to be generated using Geographic Information System (GIS) software together with a GIS database (i.e. a standardized digitized geographical base map).

    The GIS database used (whether it is a vector or raster-type base map) must have the resolution and the level of detail of a 1:1 000 000 scale map as a minimum for contour maps. For site location maps, a scale of 1:50 000 is required. If the GIS database used does not have this resolution, Natural Resources Canada maps or other types as referred to in (a) are required. Computer generated maps must have a representation (in terms of the level of detail or layers and colour scheme), comparable to Natural Resources Canada maps referred to in (a), and must be in accordance with the other requirements in Section 3 of this document. Scale must be consistent with the extent of the contour and the format required.
  3. All contour maps supplied shall be clear in all details ensuring that significant information is not hidden by labelling.

3.3 Electronic Submission of Service Contours

Electronic service contours will need to comply with the MapInfo file infrastructure (see Section 3.3.2).

3.3.1 Support for the Data Submitted

The service contours shall be submitted electronically.

3.3.2 Contour Data Geographical Projection

The latitude-longitude geographical projection shall be used and the datum WGS84 must be specified. Service Contours

Service contours shall be defined using at least one point at every 5 degrees starting at 0 degrees True North. For directional patterns, more points must be added if required to properly define the nulls and the shape of the directionality in the pattern. For interference contours, the level of detail needed with regard to the points used shall be similar to the service contour. All contours must define closed regions, thus covering 360 degrees.

3.3.3 Files to Submit MapInfo Users

The following file types must be used when submitting contour information, with one set per service contour:

  • *.dat
  • *.id
  • *.map
  • *.tab

The * symbol represents the name given to the file. For Users of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Software Packages Other than MapInfo

When choosing a GIS software package, ensure that it can export its output to the MapInfo Interchange Format (MIF), and that it can generate the required file types *.mid and *.mif, with one set of these files per service contour.

3.3.4   Naming Convention for the Files Submitted

The following structure shall be used to name each file submitted:

  • Application identifier + underscore + contour type
  • Application identifier: A string of 12 characters maximum
  • Contour type: Depends on service; the following examples illustrate which symbols to use. For AM, follow the contour value with the appropriate D, N or NL letters (Day, Night or Night Limit).

The following table of examples illustrates use of this naming convention. The application identifier used here for demonstration purposes is the usual “*”symbol.

Table 1: Naming Convention - Examples
Type of Application Contour Type Naming Under MapInfo Naming Under Other GIS
Contour Symbol
FM 500 μV/m 05 *_05.dat, *, *, * *_05.mid
3 mV/m 3 *_3.dat, *, *, * *_3.mid
TV Grade A A *_A.dat, *, *, * *_A.mid
Grade B B *_B.dat, *, *, * *_B.mid
DTV Noise-Limited Bounding Contour (NLBC) NLBC *_NLBC.dat,
DTV Urban Contour (DUC) DUC *_DUC.dat, *,
*, *
AM Daytime 0.5 mV/m 05D *_05D.dat, *, *, * *_05D.mid
Night Limit (NL)
NL *_NL.dat, *, *

Realistic or terrain-limited contours should append an "R" to the end of a symbol, e.g. *_AR for a realistic Grade A contour.

The following contour type should be used for interference areas for any type of application:

  • Contour type = channel + class + city of the interfering station.

Each interference area should be located in a separate set of files.

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4. AM, FM, or TV Proposals Predicated on Release of Assigned Broadcasting Frequencies, or Proposals for Changes to Existing Broadcasting Facilities

Occasionally, it may appear expedient to file an application for a broadcasting undertaking predicated on a frequency which is not yet available, but is expected to become available as a result of a change of frequency or other changes at existing facilities.

The Department may accept an application for a broadcasting certificate based on the above situation. However, technical acceptability will be conditional on the release of the frequency, or on the implementation of the change to facilities at the existing broadcasting undertaking. Should this application be approved by the CRTC (where applicable), the implementation of the undertaking may not be affected until the frequency has actually been vacated or facilities changed. In order to minimize problems, coordination between all parties is encouraged. The cooperation of all parties is required for the approval of the application.

Under no circumstances will a proposal involving interference during the transition period be considered unless an agreement has been reached with the parties involved.

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5. Requirements for the Technical Operation of Broadcasting Transmitter Facilities

These operational requirements apply to broadcasting undertakings that have received their broadcasting certificates.

The holder of a broadcasting certificate for a transmitter facility is responsible for maintaining frequency, modulation, antenna radiation patterns (directional and omnidirectional) and total power within permitted tolerances at all times. Minimum requirements for controlling, measuring, and monitoring broadcast transmitter facilities are specified in Section 5.1 below.

Compliance with minimum requirements may be achieved either by operating the plant under local control (attended) or under remote control (unattended). If the facility is normally operated unattended via remote control system and that system fails, the facility shall be operated under local control until the remote control system is once again operative.

5.1 Controlling, Measuring and Monitoring Transmitter Facilities

This section outlines the minimum requirements for controlling, measuring, and monitoring transmitter facilities.

5.1.1 Controls:

  1. [RF power] ON-OFF.
  2. For AM stations, selection of day and night power and/or radiation pattern selection where applicable.
  3. [Transmitter] resets, if applicable.

5.1.2 Accurate Monthly Measurements:

  1. Frequency: The carrier frequency shall be measured.
  2. Modulation: Maximum permissible modulation levels relevant to the specific mode of transmission shall be verified.
  3. Power: The power output of the transmitter shall be measured by either a permanently installed calibrated power meter or by connecting a calibrated external power measuring device to a transmitter output port. For AM radio transmitters, measurements shall be made of the RF current at the transmitter output or at the common point. For an AM radio transmitter with directional antenna(s), measurements shall also be made of the tower currents (or ratios) and phases for each radiation pattern certified.

For AM stations, the implementation of Modulation Dependent Carrier Level (MDCL) control may have an impact on the above operating parameters.  The MDCL control must be turned off when accurate measurements are performed in order to obtain results that are not affected by it. Additional Aspects Associated with Accurate Measurements

Normally, the accurate measurements noted in Section 5.1.2 shall be taken monthly. However, if the broadcaster requests that accurate measurements be taken less frequently and can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Department that frequency, modulation, and power remain stable, the Department may permit measurements to be taken and logged less frequently.

Measurements in Section 5.1.2 shall be logged and the logs made available for inspection by the Department on demand, for a minimum period of six years for AM undertakings and two years for others. Also, any significant plant abnormalities and corrective action taken shall be logged.

It is the responsibility of the holder of the broadcasting certificate to maintain the plant within permitted maximum tolerances at all times. If any parameter is out of tolerance at the time of accurate measurements, then corrective action shall be taken, along with more frequent measurements, until the parameter is reset within tolerance.

5.1.3 Monitoring

During periods between accurate measurements, undertakings shall be monitored either locally at the transmitter or remotely. Communication between monitoring and control points shall be available.

Rebroadcasting undertakings from which off-air signals are not available at the control point shall be monitored by a local person designated by the holder of the broadcasting certificate. Monitoring RF power may be accomplished from either a direct monitoring method, or using RF field strength. The minimum requirement is an indication from an S meter incorporated into a suitable monitor receiver at the control point, or an indication of the signal strength from a digitally-tuned receiver.

Undertakings shall be capable of being monitored continuously as follows: AM Undertakings

AM transmitters may be monitored with a digitally-tuned receiver. At the control point, a means for monitoring modulation shall be available, such as:

  • an audio level meter connected to the output of the receiver,
  • an oscilloscope displaying the modulated RF signal,
  • any other audible or visible signalling device which will indicate the level of modulation.

In all cases, the off-air program audio shall be available at the control point for monitoring subjective quality and modulation.

The above monitoring equipment shall remain operational when MDCL control is enabled.

For directional arrays, indication of additional antenna parameters may be required at the control point. FM Undertakings

For modulation monitoring, an audio-level meter driven by the receiver shall be visible at the control point, or, an alternative audible or visible signalling device which indicates the level of modulation that may be used. The off-air program audio shall be available at the control point for monitoring subjective quality and modulation. If applicable, facilities shall also be provided for aur al monitoring of stereophonic and other signals. TV Undertakings

Undertakings that have manned control facilities within reach of off-air signals shall have the following at their disposal:

  • a demodulated off-air TV signal together with picture and waveform monitors;

For analog TV:

  • a means of indicating the depth of the modulation of the visual carrier; and
  • a means of monitoring aural program level and quality.

Monitoring of RF power of the aural transmitter may be interpreted from transmission line power, voltage or current, plate current, or RF field strength. Remote monitoring of aural RF power is not mandatory. Other digital transmission facilities (DTV, S-DARS)

Monitoring of RF power shall be performed when requested by the Department. Continuous Monitoring

Broadcasting undertakings that utilize remote control calibrated monitoring systems:

  • to monitor the critical operating parameters listed in sections 5.1.2 and 5.1.3;
  • to immediately report out-of-tolerance conditions to the control point(s);
  • to log out-of-tolerance conditions;

shall be considered as meeting the monitoring requirements in Section 5 provided that corrective measures are initiated as soon as out-of-tolerance conditions are detected (see Section on accurate measurements).

In situations where the broadcasting undertakings utilize such remote control and monitoring systems, the measurements referenced in Section 5.1.2, and any appropriate recalibration of the monitoring system shall be conducted and logged during regular maintenance visits.

The holder of a broadcasting certificate is responsible for ensuring that obstruction marking, lighting, and monitoring for antenna support structures are in accordance with current Transport Canada requirements.

5.2 Description of Technical Facilities

The applicant for a broadcasting certificate shall submit to the Director, Broadcast, Coordination and Planning, prior to on-air operation, a description of the technical facilities at their disposal enabling them to comply with the minimum requirements specified in Section 5.1 above. The submission shall include:

  • Transmitter manufacturer, model, and departmental Technical Acceptance Certificate (TAC) number. The requirement for a TAC does not apply to digital transmitters.
  • A description of the monitoring and the out-of-tolerance reporting system where the facilities are monitored on a continuous basis, as described in Section above.
  • A list of equipment available for the accurate measurements required in Section 5.1.2. If the measurement equipment does not normally remain at the transmitter plant, its normal location and availability shall be specified.
  • A list of equipment available for monitoring as specified in Section 5.1.3.
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6. Requirements for the Establishment of Auxiliary Transmitting Systems

6.1 Introduction

Many broadcasting undertakings find it expedient to provide auxiliary transmitting systems to ensure continuity of service in the event of main transmitting system failure or for maintenance periods. This action is in the public interest and every encouragement is given to licensees to equip their undertakings in this manner.

In order to comply with the provisions of the Radiocommunication Act and international agreements, and to maintain an appropriate engineering standard of equipment and installations, the requirements as outlined in this section have been put into place.

Authorization is required for the installation and use of any auxiliary transmitting system. Applications for authorization to establish alternate or standby facilities shall be made either on-line at or to the Director, Broadcasting Applications Engineering using departmental form ISED-ISDE3689, Application for a Broadcasting Certificate for an Auxiliary Broadcast Transmitting System, which is found online.

The following shall be submitted with the application:

  1. a text file containing horizontal and vertical antenna pattern data, in accordance with Annex E for electronic submissions, or horizontal and vertical antenna pattern data in tabulated format for non-electronic submissions; and
  2. form IC-2430, Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems Attestation for standby transmitters submitted via e-mail (in PDF format) or by non-electronic submission.

Authorization to establish an emergency transmitting system shall be obtained from the responsible local ISED office.

Nothing contained herein relieves the licensee of his/her responsibilities under Radiocommunication Regulations relating to the control of undertakings in a national emergency.

6.2 Definitions and Usage

Main Transmitter:

A broadcasting transmitter for which a TAC has been issued with rated power output as authorized, and which is primarily used to provide the service for which the undertaking is licensed.

Auxiliary Transmitters

  1. Alternate Transmitter: A broadcasting transmitter for which a TAC has been issued with the same rated power and electrical characteristics as the main transmitter, and which is used alternately with the main transmitter to provide the service for which the undertaking is licensed.
  2. Standby Transmitter: A broadcasting transmitter for which a TAC has been issued which is used to maintain some continuity of service in the event of main or alternate transmitter failure. This transmitter may also be used during specified periods when maintenance is being carried out on the main transmitter. The power or the coverage required by a standby transmitter is specified in Section 6.3.2.
  3. Emergency Transmitter: An unplanned broadcasting transmitter installation used to provide continuity of service necessitated by unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the undertaking licensee. The operation of such systems shall normally be limited to a duration of two weeks; however, a longer term may be authorized when warranted due to extraordinary circumstances. Authority may be obtained from the responsible departmental local office; otherwise, the provisions of Section 6.5 hereunder apply.

    Unless otherwise approved by the department, the maximum power for these emergency operations for various broadcasting services shall be the lesser of the licensed station power or, for:
    • AM Broadcasting - 250 watts
    • FM Broadcasting - 1 kW e.r.p.
    • Television - 1 kW e.r.p.
    Emergency transmitters, if not issued a TAC, shall comply with technical requirements dealing with frequency tolerance, spurious harmonic radiation, and safety. It is strongly recommended that these emergency transmitters comply with as many as possible of the other requirements as well.

6.3 Location of Main and Auxiliary Transmitters

6.3.1 Main and Alternate Transmitters

Main and alternate transmitters shall be located at the main transmitter site as shown on the broadcasting certificate and shall operate into the antenna system which has been approved for the broadcast undertaking’s power and frequency. In all respects, the two transmitters shall be completely interchangeable without measurable effect on the signal in any direction.

6.3.2 Standby Transmitters

Standby transmitters may be located at either the main transmitter site, or another approved site, and shall operate into either the main or another approved antenna system.

The location and parameters of the standby operation shall be such that the local service contour would enclose the principal population centre which the undertaking is licensed to serve. The power of AM standby transmitters located in a metropolitan area shall not exceed the lesser of the station’s licensed power or 250 watts.

6.3.3 Emergency Transmitters

Emergency transmitting systems are unplanned installations and their necessity results from unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the undertaking licensee. The location of any such system shall be agreed upon by the local Departmental Office.

6.4 Maintenance and Operation

The requirements of Section 5 shall apply to alternate and standby facilities. When alternate, standby, or emergency transmitters are used, a log shall be kept covering each operation with an explanation of the circumstances and the necessity for such an operation.

6.4.1 Identification of Undertakings During Standby or Emergency Operation

Undertakings shall identify themselves hourly during times of standby or emergency operation and shall include an indication that the undertaking is operating with reduced power and with a different antenna location where applicable.

6.5 Special Case Operations

There may be exceptional circumstances requiring the operation of auxiliary facilities other than those described here. Such requirements shall be submitted to the Director, Broadcast, Coordination and Planning, and will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

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7. Assignment and Identification Requirements for Broadcasting Undertakings

7.1 Introduction

Article 19 of the ITU Radio Regulations requires that the identification of broadcasting stations be done through the use of call signs. In Canada, this requirement is reflected in Radiocommunication Regulations Section 18, in the Broadcasting Procedures and Rules and in Broadcasting Equipment Technical Standard 11, Technical Requirements Respecting the Identification of Broadcasting Stations (BETS-11). Call signs do not apply to S DARS broadcasting stations.

7.2 Assignment of Call Signs

The call sign shall be used for the identification of the broadcasting station by the main program and optionally by ancillary programs. Special call signs will not be issued for ancillary services (e.g. SCMO).

The call signs in the list developed by the Department begin with one of the letter groupings CF, CH, CI, CJ, CK, which constitute a subset of the letters that have been assigned to Canada under the ITU (see ITU Radio Regulations, Article 19 and Appendix 42). By special arrangement, broadcasting undertakings owned and operated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation can be assigned call signs beginning with CB.

Basic call signs are made up of four letters, the first two taken from the two-letter groupings CF, CH, CI, CJ, CK indicated above. In special cases, three-letter call signs will be used for national network undertakings. Suffixes FM, TV, and DT will identify FM, TV, and DTV undertakings, respectively. Numerical suffixes will be appended to identify rebroadcasting undertakings, where the same basic call sign is assigned to the originating as well as to the rebroadcasting undertaking (rebroadcasting undertakings are those that simultaneously broadcast the programs of another undertaking for at least half of the broadcasting schedule).

If a specific call sign is not required by the applicant, special call signs consisting of two letters and four digits will be used for satellite-fed low power FMFootnote 1 and TV undertakings which have no local programming i.e. VF2000 to VF9999 for FM and CH2000 to CH9999 for TV.

The call sign shall be selected by the applicant at the time of submitting an application for a broadcasting certificate and a broadcasting licence.Footnote 2 It shall be selected from the list of available call signs which ISED has posted on its website (see Section 1.3). The selected call sign will be reserved for the period that the application is considered active. Information concerning the call sign may be obtained by examining the application for the broadcasting certificate which is on file at the Department, after the CRTC has published its public notice relative to the related licence application.

7.3 Identification of Broadcasting Undertakings

Pursuant to the Radiocommunication Regulations, Section 18, a broadcasting station for which a call sign has been issued must identify itself in accordance with the provisions of Technical Requirements Respecting the Identification of Broadcasting Stations (BETS-11).

The holder of the broadcasting certificate for a rebroadcasting undertaking complies with these requirements if its originating broadcasting undertaking identifies it in accordance with the provisions of Section 2.3 of BETS-11.

Rebroadcasting undertakings that meet the criteria of Section 2.4 of BETS-11 comply with these requirements.

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8. Assessment of Exposure to RF Energy

8.1 Introduction

The Health Canada guideline Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy in the Frequency Range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz — Safety Code 6, sets out safety requirements for the installation and use of stationary radiofrequency apparatus that operate in the frequency range 3 kHz to 300 GHz.

While the responsibility for developing Safety Code 6 rests with Health Canada, ISED has adopted this guideline for the purpose of protecting the general public.

It is the responsibility of proponents and operators of installations to ensure that all radiocommunication and broadcasting installations comply with Safety Code 6 at all times. This includes consideration of the combined effects of nearby installations within the local radio environment. To this end, the engineering brief submitted in support of an application for a broadcasting certificate shall contain an analysis of RF exposure levels.

8.2 Purpose

The purpose of this RF exposure procedure is to:

  1. describe the departmental process with respect to the analysis and the technical acceptability of applications;
  2. recommend prediction methods to determine compliance with Safety Code 6; and
  3. specify responsibility with respect to the protection of the general public from exposure to RF energy.

8.3 Method of Analysis

Exposure limits specified in Safety Code 6 vary as a function of frequency. Where exposure to radiofrequency energy is caused by more than one source, compliance with exposure limits shall be verified by summing up the contributions of individual sources expressed as a fraction of the exposure limit for all radiocommunication and broadcasting systems in the area under consideration.

The fractional contribution is expressed as a fraction of the exposure limit at the pertinent frequency:

\[F_i = \frac{P_i}{S_i}\]



Fi = the fractional contribution of each source.
Pi = the power density produced by each source.
Si = exposure limit at the pertinent frequency.

Using a simple conservative approach, each fractional contribution for FM, TV, DTV, S‑DARS and other considered non‑broadcasting undertakings is calculated using either of the following formulas based on the modified free space propagation modelFootnote 3 using Safety Code 6 limits for uncontrolled environments:

\[F_i = \frac{3.341 \times 10^{-1} \times k \times ERP_i}{d^2 \times P_{si}}\]
\[F_i = \frac{1.260 \times 10^2 \times k \times ERP_i}{d^2 \times E^2_{si}}\]
\[F_i = \frac{8.863 \times 10^{-4} \times k \times ERP_i}{d^2 \times H^2_{si}}\]



k = 1 for single polarization FM, DTV, S‑DARS terrestrial transmitters and other single polarization non‑broadcasting undertakings.
k = 2 for dual or circularly polarized FM, DTV and other dual or circularly polarized non‑broadcasting undertakings.
k = 0.7 for horizontally polarized NTSC TV undertakings.
k = 1.4 for dual or circularly polarized NTSC TV undertakings.
ERPi = Maximum ERP for the individual station, in watts.
d = shortest unobstructed distance from ground or any location accessible to the public, to the centre of radiation of the transmitting antenna, in metres.
Psi = Safety Code 6 exposure limit for uncontrolled environments expressed as power density in W/m2 at the pertinent frequency.
Esi = Safety Code 6 exposure limit for uncontrolled environments expressed as electric field in V/m at the pertinent frequency.
Hsi = Safety Code 6 exposure limit for uncontrolled environments expressed as magnetic field in A/m at the pertinent frequency

The total exposure level for a given radio environment is then given by:

\[F = \sum^{N}_{i=1} F_{i} = \sum^{N}_{i=1} \frac {P_i}{S_i} \]


F = total fractional contribution of all sources.
N = number of radio frequency sources under consideration.

For compliance with Safety Code 6, the value of F must be less than unity.

For AM broadcasting undertakings, the Department will use the tables in Annex B as a method to evaluate the distance from individual towers of the antenna array where exposure to radio frequency energy is predicted to exceed 50% of the exposure limit.

The Department will also accept actual measurements for existing facilities as part of the analysis.

8.4 Conditions for Technical Acceptability

The following conditions must be met, as applicable to each service, for an installation to be deemed technically acceptable:

  1. Standalone low-power and very low-power AM, FM, and TV undertakings may be exempt from any further analysis related to RF exposure limit if the applicant can demonstrate that the general public will not have access to the area within the distance given in Annex C, provided that the overall contribution from other radio apparatus in the vicinity is considered insignificant.
  2. For all other FM, TV, S-DARS and DTV undertakings, calculate Fi for the proposed application alone, assuming an isotropic source using the maximum value of the proposed ERPi (equation 2 of Section 8.3)Footnote 4. For AM undertakings, the method described in Annex B shall be used to determine the compliance distance.

    If Fi ≤ 0.01 (i.e. 1% of the exposure limit) in any area accessible to the general public, then compliance is presumed. However, the Department may, at its discretion, require further analysis.
  3. If the 1% limit in step b is exceeded in an area accessible to the general public, the analysis should be repeated taking into account the contribution of the proposed facility, as well as contributions from all radio frequency transmitters in the vicinity.Footnote 5
    1. Evaluated Total Exposure < 50% of Exposure Limit

      Note: Evaluated total exposure is the predicted exposure from the facilities, or the sum of the measured levels of the existing exposure and the predicted levels from the proposed facilities.

      If evaluated total exposure is at least 50% below the exposure limit, compliance is presumed and no further analysis is needed.
    2. 50% of Exposure Limit ≤ Evaluated Total Exposure ≤ Exposure Limit

      If the evaluated total exposure is equal to or greater than 50% of the exposure limit without exceeding the said limit in any area accessible to the general public, then technical acceptability could be granted under the condition that the applicant undertakes measurements once the proposed facility is built and turned on for testing. Alternatively, the applicant may propose and install corrective measures. In all cases, the applicant must demonstrate compliance with Safety Code 6 before the Department issues the broadcasting certificate.

      Refer to GL-01, Guidelines for the Measurement of Radio Frequency Fields at Frequencies from 3 kHz to 300 GHz, for recommended measurement procedures and determination of compliance, and to CPC-2-0-20, Radio Frequency (RF) Fields- Signs and Access Controls, which outlines corrective measures to ensure compliance with Safety Code 6 requirements for uncontrolled environments.
    3. Evaluated Total Exposure > Exposure Limit

      If evaluated total exposure is predicted to exceed the exposure limit in any area accessible to the general public, the proposal shall include corrective measures to ensure compliance with Safety Code 6; otherwise, it will be considered technically unacceptable.

8.5 Contact and Induced Currents

It is important to note that undertakings operating in the frequency range up to 110 MHz may induce an alternating electric potential on ungrounded or poorly grounded metallic objects in the vicinity of the antenna(s).

If a person touches such objects, RF currents will flow through the person to the ground and the current levels will depend on a number of factors. Even though a person may not be touching a metallic object, RF currents can still be induced in the body by external RF fields and may flow through the body to the ground. Taking contact and induced current measurements is the only reliable way to ensure compliance with Safety Code 6 for such undertakings. The exposure limits for contact and induced currents from 3 kHz to 110 MHz are specified in Safety Code 6. Refer to GL-01, Guidelines for the Measurement of Radio Frequency Fields at Frequencies from 3 kHz to 300 GHz, for recommended measurement procedures of contact and induced currents.

8.6 Operational Considerations

Under conditional technical acceptability (see item (c) (ii) of Section 8.4), if measurements uncover areas accessible to the general public that exceed the exposure limit, then immediate corrective action(s) must be taken by the applicant to bring the installation into compliance with Safety Code 6.

  1. Corrective measures recommended to bring the facility into compliance with Safety Code 6 can be found in ISED’s CPC-2-0-20, Radio Frequency (RF) Fields-Signs and Access Controls
  2. Where area demarcation and access control alone cannot ensure compliance to Safety Code 6 limits for uncontrolled environments, the applicant shall reduce transmitter power and/or adjust the antenna system, or take other measures (to the extent of shutting down the broadcasting facility) to comply with Safety Code 6.

In all cases, the Department reserves the right to request the measurement of the exposure levels at a site, before or after the construction of the undertaking.

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9. Requirements for the Selection of Transmitting Equipment

The applicant or holder of a broadcasting certificate for a broadcasting transmitting undertaking is required to use transmitting equipment that meets the following criteria for all regular-power and low-power undertakings:

  1. The equipment has been issued a Technical Acceptance Certificate (TAC) under the applicable Broadcasting Equipment Technical Standard as a single unit; or the equipment has been constructed of sub-assemblies from certified transmitters (e.g. an exciter from one transmitter and a final amplifier from another transmitter).

    Note: The foregoing notwithstanding, the Department reserves the right to require that measurements be taken and that a report be submitted to demonstrate compatibility with the applicable Broadcasting Equipment Technical Standard with regards to spurious and harmonic emissions.
  2. Emissions from digital broadcasting facilities must conform with technical requirements specified in the service-specific Broadcast Procedure and Rules.
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Footnote 1

Two-letter, four digit call signs are also used for other low-power FM undertakings that are CRTC licence-exempt such as tourist information stations or short duration stations for special events.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

Broadcasting licences are obtained from the CRTC.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

The modified free‑space power density formula is used to account for ground wave reflection. The equivalent E‑field includes both the direct and the reflected E‑fields where the reflected portion of the E‑field is taken as 60% of the direct E‑field. The modified free space propagation model can be expressed as follows:
Wm = 2.56 × EIRP /4πr2
Wm is the power density obtained from the antenna at the point of interest (W/m2)
EIRP is the effective isotropic radiated power (W)
r is the distance from the radiation center of the antenna to the point of interest (m)

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Footnote 4

See Section 3.3.1 of GL-08, Guidelines for the Preparation of Radio Frequency (RF) Exposure Compliance Reports for Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems, for instructions when detailed calculations are used to demonstrate compliance.

Return to footnote 4 referrer

Footnote 5

In addition to the RF installations at the site under study, nearby transmitting antennas can also impact the calculations, especially if they are high-power stations. It is important to assess the full radio environment when evaluating Safety Code 6 compliance. Mathematical predictions and field measurements have demonstrated that non-broadcast wireless stations beyond 100 metres have negligible impact on the overall exposure level. Close attention should be given to broadcast stations within 1 km of the proposed site. If it is suspected that there are stations nearby that may impact RF levels at the site under study, these must be taken into account in the detailed calculations. If any antenna systems have been excluded from the calculations, the rationale should be provided.

Return to footnote 5 referrer

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