Specific exemptions for holding and use of two-way radios (including hand-held CB radios) outlined in Ontario Reg. 366/09 – Display Screens and Hand-Held Devices – are set to expire on January 1, 2018.
These time-limited exemptions currently allow the use a two-way radio for the following:
- Certain public function employees (eg., bus drivers);
- Commercial drivers;
- Amateur radio operators (eg., an Industry Canada-licensed operator which could include a commercial driver).
For two-way radios, the exemption allows a driver to push and hold the button on a hand held two-way radio device when driving. The driver can push a button to talk and release it to listen, repeating as often as necessary to have a conversation. If the hands-held device is a microphone, it must be secured in, or mounted to the vehicle and within easy reach of the driver. Two-way radio, hands-free devices that are clipped to the driver’s belt or attached to his/her clothing are also exempt.
The exemptions, which took effect on January 1, 2013, provided suppliers a five-year window to deliver hands-free alternatives to two-way radio technology.
In the absence of any further amendments to the current regulation, expiration of this exemption would prohibit the hand-held use of two-way radios for all road users (aside from law enforcement outlined in the current regulation).
For this reason, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is considering three options to address the expiry of the exemption.
- Extend the exemption for hand-held use of two-way radios for an additional seven years (and review again in seven years).
- Make the exemption permanent (as some other Canadian jurisdictions have done).
- Allow the exemption to expire, effective January 1, 2018 (making hand-held use of devices illegal and requiring all currently exempted drivers to use hands-free alternatives only).
To assist OTA in responding to the MTO on this issue, please take a few minutes to complete OTA’s survey by clicking here before May 26, 2017