The Radio Amateurs of Canada

Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC), known in French as Radio Amateurs du Canada, is the national association for Amateur Radio in Canada. It is a not-for-profit membership association with headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, representing the interests of Amateur Radio all across Canada.

Speaking on behalf of Canadian Radio Amateurs, RAC provides liaison with government agencies and carries the Amateur voice about regulatory and spectrum issues to the discussion table with government and industry leaders, nationally and internationally.

RAC is the Canadian voting member society of the International Amateur Radio Union. RAC also provides many services, publications and supplies to its members to enhance their enjoyment of Amateur Radio.

The organization publishes a bimonthly magazine distributed to members called The Canadian Amateur or TCA.



The Canadian Radio Relay League (CRRL) was founded in 1920 to serve Canadian Amateurs. The CRRL was originally a division of the ARRL the American Radio Relay league with one Director who sat on the ARRL Board of Directors. The CRRL incorporated in 1979 as a self-governing and self-administering division of the ARRL. At that time CRRL managed the Canadian sections.

On January 1, 1988 the Canadian Radio Relay League became autonomous and had their own Officers and a seven member Board of Directors elected by CRRL members.

The CRRL maintained the Canadian Field Organization with the same structure as ARRL. The members of the League were owners of the CRRL, which published the magazine QST Canada on a monthly basis.

They published a Study Guide for Radio Amateur courses, a Canadian Call Book Directory and other operating aids for Amateur Radio operators. They sponsored the CRRL Central Incoming and Outgoing QSL Card Bureaus. They were also the Canadian representative and voting member of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), and paid annual membership dues for all licensed Canadian Amateurs whether CRRL members or not.


During this period a separate organization The Canadian Amateur Radio Federation (CARF) which was founded in 1967. Basically, the CARF was a Federation of provincial organizations until the early 1970s. At this time a reorganization took place that allowed individual members to join the National Organization. CARF published a magazine called The Canadian Amateur. They also published many operating aids, a Canadian Call Book and Study Guides for Radio Amateur courses across the country. CARF sponsored a number of Department of Communications (DOC), now Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISEDC), symposiums across Canada, which brought together Amateur Radio operators and department officials for communications in Canada. This liaison created a mutual understanding for Amateur Radio operators' concerns.


The Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) was formed on May 3, 1993 when the CRRL and CARF merged after several years of discussion between the two National Organizations. It is a Not-For-Profit Organization incorporated within Canada. When the CRRL became completely autonomous from the ARRL in 1988, this more than caused confusion for Canadian Radio Amateurs when deciding which organization to support. Both the CRRL and CARF were duplicating many services, which was a waste with a country having fewer Amateur Radio operators than our American cousins. After much deliberation on the parts of both former organizations, a new National Organization for all Canadian Amateurs now represents all of the things that CARF and CRRL had done in the past. The best from both Organizations were implemented on May 3, 1993 and continues to grow with membership support.


The main services of RAC consist of a National magazine called The Canadian Amateur, published bi-monthly, the Field Organization that maintain supplies, certificates, and management of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service and the National Traffic System in each Section managed by Section Managers elected by RAC members. Study Guides for Amateur Radio courses are continually being improved for today's needs. RAC is also now the voting member of the IARU.


RAC is owned by its members who can voice their concerns through a Board of seven (7) elected Directors across Canada. The Board of Directors elects a slate of Executive Officers for day-to-day management of the Organization, which includes an Office Manager. The RAC administration office is in Ottawa, ON. This location provides close liaison with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISEDC) officials in Ottawa.


Please consider joining RACas it’s the only single National Amateur Radio Organization in Canada. Membership support is needed more than ever with the many issues that face Amateur Radio today.


Here is a quick summary of that timeline again.

1920 – A chapter of the Ameican Radio Relay League was formed called the Canadian Radio Relay League (CRRL)

1967 — Canadian Amateur Radio Federation (CARF) formed

1979 — Canadian Radio Relay League (CRRL) separated from the ARRL and became an independent organization.

1993 — the Merger of Canadian Radio Relay League with Canadian Amateur Radio Federation occurred to form Radio Amateurs of Canada, Inc.

Regulatory advocacy

Radio Amateurs of Canada represents all Canadian Amateurs at all levels of government:


1) At the local level it works with municipalities on such issues as regulations governing the placement of antennas. It also assists Amateur Radio clubs and other organizations in Public Service and Emergency Services (ARES) functions throughout the year in some provinces. RAC also provides assistance to members wishing to install antennas and towers following Industry Canada's (now called Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada) tower policy including CPC-2-0-03.

2) At the regional/provincial/territorial level RAC also works with governments on such issues as Distracted Driving Legislation and Emergency Services.

3) At the national level it represents all Amateurs on the Canadian Amateur Radio Advisory Board and works with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on important issues such as tower legislation, RF interference and spectrum grabs by business.

4) At the international level RAC is a member of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) which works with the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to preserve and expand our frequency spectrum allocations.

An important note, RAC pays its IARU dues based on the total number of Amateurs in Canada, and not just RAC members so it needs the financial support of as many members as possible.

RAC also sponsors a representative at the World Radiocommunication Conferences in Geneva, Switzerland to protect existing spectrum and open new spectrum such as the recent allocation at 60 metres at WRC-15. It is expensive to send a representative to Geneva and RAC coordinates the Defence of the Amateur Radio Fund so that Amateurs can help contribute to this cost.

5) RAC also supports the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program and provides opportunities for students to experience the thrill of communicating with astronauts on the International Space Station.

The organization also acts as a consolatory body to municipal, provincial, and federal government bodies in any matters concerning the Amateur Radio Service.


The Radio Amateur of Canada club offers programs and publications to "promote excellence, the state of the art, and the interests of Amateur Radio's many varied activities".

RAC members have access to services including:

  • The Canadian Amateur (TCA) magazine, Canada’s premiere national magazine devoted to Amateur Radio, is published six times per year and is available in both print and digital (eTCA) formats
  • The Affiliated Club Program provides documents and other useful material to help local Amateur Radio clubs to be more efficient and provide more useful programs for their members.
  • The Affiliated Club Liability Insurance Program provides affordable $5 million liability insurance for RAC-affiliated Amateur Radio clubs and their members.
  • The QSL Bureau System distributes reception report (QSL) cards for RAC member to countries around the world
  • The Youth Education Program provides support to teachers and schools wishing to implement an Amateur Radio program or project as a way to promote science and technology education.
  • The Foundation Program applies member donations to provide financial support through scholarships, research and equipment grants.
  • The Field Organization coordinates traffic handling and emergency communications across Canada. Help your community by joining the RAC-sponsored Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and/or the National Traffic System (NTS).
  • The Certified Emergency Coordinator Program provides certificates to ARES Emergency Coordinators who pass a rigorous examination on emergency measures structures and procedures. RAC issues the CEPT and IARP international permits so you can operate your station in many countries without additional permission. Note: CEPT and IARP FAQ info is provided here.
  • Two annual contests: the Canada Day Contest on July 1 and the Canada Winter Contest in late December.
  • The Operating Awards the Canadaward, Transcanada, St. Lawrence Seaway and Provincial Capitals.
  • The club website has Amateur Radio news, info, call sign directory, antenna programs and links to other resources.

Emergency services

Canadian Amateur Radio operators also provide emergency communications through the Amateur Radio Emergency Service organized in Canada by the Radio Amateurs of Canada. RAC has an understanding with The Canadian Red Cross Society to assist with communications in the event of an emergency or disaster.


As our local club NORAC utilizes the following services and support from the national RAC club

We use the RAC website to advertise our Amateur Radio course.

We are a RAC Affiliated club which entitles us to a national listing as a Canadian Amateur Radio local  or regional club.

Also as an affiliated club we have a subscription to the TCA magazine mailed to the Vernon library for our local population to enjoy.

Affiliated Club Coverage

A Canadian Amateur Radio Club that is officially Affiliated with the Radio Amateurs of Canada can apply to participate in the Affiliated Club’s Insurance Policy issued to RAC by AON Risk Management. To be eligible for Affiliated Club insurance coverage, a radio club must be incorporated and also be a RAC Affiliated Club.

The major element of the program is Commercial General Liability insurance providing coverage of $5,000,000 per occurrence with a $1,000 deductible for normal radio club activities such as club meetings, Field Day, club repeater installations, public events and demonstrations. The Insurer will assess each club's application to determine eligibility and may add a surcharge for clubs that that undertake higher risk activities beyond the scope of normal radio club activities. A smaller element of the club insurance covers several types of financial crime such as computer fraud, forgery, counterfeiting and theft. Depending on the nature of the crime, the insurance covers the club's loss to a maximum of $10,000 or $50,000 with no deductible.

Club insurance is offered at extra cost, as a benefit of being a RAC Affiliated Club. The cost for coverage is based on a fixed annual registration fee, plus a fee per club member and a surcharge per club member who is not a current member of RAC.

Radio Amateurs of Canada also offers additional equipment loss/damage insurance coverage for insured RAC Affiliated Clubs that are participating in the liability insurance program. This equipment loss/damage insurance coverage is offered as an extra-cost option to qualifying clubs, as a benefit of affiliation. It is optional and clubs are not required to list equipment for loss/damage coverage should they not wish to do so. Equipment covered will be insured on an Actual Cash Value basis. The Loss/Damage Insurance has a $1,000 deductible.

RAC Member Coverage

Members of RAC, who are also a member of an insured Affiliated Club will automatically, and at no additional cost, obtain liability coverage for their personal Amateur Radio activities. This provides the same levels of protection ($5 million limit per occurrence) as the Affiliated Club insurance for their personal station and activities, mobile and portable operation are subject to a few conditions. The Personal insurance does not cover damage to the member's home or that of a person also insured under the program.

To be eligible for personal liability coverage, you must be both a current RAC member and a member of an insured RAC Affiliated Club. RAC members who are not also members of an insured Affiliated Club are not eligible for individual coverage.

So just in a quick summary, if NORAC remains active as an affiliated club with RAC, and you personally are an up to date NORAC member, and also a RAC national club member.

NORAC gets all the benefits of your memberships, and you get all the benefits of your memberships while also reducing the local clubs annual insurance fees and you gaining free insurance coverage for yourself as well.