Statement of Intent of the Federal Communications Commission of the United States of America and the Department of Industry of Canada Related to the Cross-Border Operation of Portable Radios by Public Safety Agencies along the United States-Canada Border

Posted on Industry Canada website: October 21, 2014

Considering that discussions have taken place between the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Industry of Canada (Industry Canada) (hereafter the "Agencies") on improving cross-border public safety communications in areas along the United States-Canada border;

Considering that Article II of the 1952 Convention between Canada and the United States of America relating to the Operation by Citizens of either country of certain Radio Equipment or Stations in the Other Country (the Convention) permits certain cross-border communications by mobile radio stations installed in public safety vehicles;

Considering that public safety mobile communications have evolved since the Convention was drafted and now include the operation of portable radio unitsFootnote 1 (not limited to operation within public safety vehicles) that were not envisioned at the time the Convention was ratified;

Considering that public safety licensees are those that protect safety of life, health or property (e.g. police, fire and emergency medical services) as described by the Agencies in their relevant rules;

Taking the above into account, the Agencies intend to allow the use of portable radio units by public safety licensees of either country.

Furthermore, the Agencies recognize that in the April 15, 1991 Exchange of Letters between the Department of Communications (now Industry Canada) and the Federal Communications Commission, the Agencies concurred to suspend the requirement under the 1952 Convention for the registration and the issuance of a permit to terrestrial mobile radio units operating in the other country, provided such mobiles are under the control of a properly licensed terrestrial station in the country in which they are operating. Similarly, the agencies do not intend to require registration or the issuance of a permit for the operation of mobile or portable radio units by public safety licensees of either country, regardless of whether or not these radio units are under the control of a terrestrial station in the country in which they are operating, provided such radio units are properly licensed in their country of origin.


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Tom Wheeler
Federal Communications Commission
October 8, 2014


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Kelly Gillis
Senior Assistant Deputy Minister
Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications
Industry Canada
October 1, 2014


Footnote 1

Portable radio units are radios designed to be carried by a person and capable of transmitting and/or receiving while in motion or during brief halts at unspecified locations (i.e. handhelds).

Return to footnote 1 referrer

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