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Canada Market Access for Electrical and R&TT Products

Telecommunication approval

The Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) is the government department responsible for regulating telecommunications equipment in Canada. The Radiocommunication Act and the Telecommunications Act give the Minister of Industry the authority to develop technical standards and to ensure that telecommunications equipment meets these standards.

The Radiocommunication Act and the Telecommunications Act requires manufacturers, importers, distributors, and vendors must ensure that radio and telecommunications equipment, whether locally manufactured or imported to Canada, is tested and certified or declared to comply with applicable domestic technical regulatory standards - the ISED technical standards and marking requirements. The equipment sold in the Canadian marketplace continues to meet those standards during the entire product life-cycle.

The Certification and Engineering Bureau (CEB) of the ISED provides:

  • a certification service for radio equipment, and

  • a registration service for terminal equipment.

Testing of either radio or terminal equipment to establish compliance with the ISED standards is performed in private sector laboratories. These laboratories are required to be approved by the ISED.

Certification and Engineering Bureau of the ISED performs regular audits or market surveillance of wireless and wireline equipment offered for sale to verify that the equipment complies with ISED's technical standards and that it is properly certified and/or registered.

Certified radiocommunications devices are listed in the Radio Equipment List (REL) and registered telecommunication apparatus are in the Telecommunications Apparatus Register (TAR).

The Telecommunications Act requires that all telecommunications apparatus (such as telephones, digital subscriber line equipment, and modems) that are subject to and meet the technical specifications or markings be registered in the Telecommunications Apparatus Register (TAR) managed by Industry Canada and after this apparatus can be legally distributed, leased, imported into and sold in Canada.

Declaration of Conformity (DoC) is a conformity assessment scheme used for telecommunications terminal equipment (apparatus) that connect directly to the public switched telephone network. Regulation DC-01 “Procedure for Declaration of Conformity and Registration of Terminal Equipment” sets out the requirements for registering terminal products.

The Radiocommunication Act requires that all radiocommunication devices, whether locally manufactured or imported for use in Canada, are tested and certified to meet applicable technical standards.

The technical standards for radio equipment are prescribed by the ISED to ensure various radio apparatus used by radio services such as broadcasting, cellular, Wi-Fi, air traffic control and Public Safety can operate with minimal impact on each other and with the best use of the spectrum. The standards also ensure the radio (wireless) apparatus meet the limits set forth by Health Canada on the exposure of radio frequencies, particularly concerning the limits for Specific Absorption Rate (SAR).

The Canadian Equipment Certification Program ensures radio equipment used in Canada meets the requirements of the applicable standards for specific types of equipment.

Certification of a product requires various steps and documents which are detailed in Radio Standards Procedure RSP‑100 “Certification of Radio Apparatus”. The application can be submitted electronically using the Equipment Certification Services the Spectrum Management System website. Generally, applicants utilize the expertise of Testing Laboratories and Certification Bodies that are recognized by the ISED and listed on the ISED website to obtain certification with Canada. Testing laboratories test the products according to the required Canadian regulations for radio certification with the ISED.

Type of radio equipment subject to the regulation could be found here.

Radio equipment is categorized as:

  • Category I radio and broadcasting equipment such as:

cordless phones

cellular phones and television broadcasting transmitters

digital scanner receivers

model aircraft remote control, FRS and GMRS devices

LAN devices

remote car garage door openers

wireless routers

Equipment must meet technical regulations and requires certification by the ISED or a Certification Body. All Category I equipment in Canada must be labelled. “Certification” is the conformity assessment scheme used for Category I radio and broadcasting equipment.

  • Category II radio, broadcasting and interference-causing equipment such as:

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) receivers

television sets

fluorescent lights

electronic transformers or ballasts

alarm keypads

intelligent battery chargers

satellite TV receivers


DVD players


or any equipment that generates and uses timing signals at a rate in excess of 10,000 pulses per second

Equipment must meet technical regulations but certification is not required. Category II equipment is exempt from certification and registration. The equipment shall also be properly labelled according to the applicable standards. “Supplier's Declaration of Conformity” (SDoC) is the conformity assessment scheme used for Category II radio and broadcasting equipment.

Once a radio device has been approved for use in Canada, the ISED will provide the manufacturer with a certification/registration number. All radio devices approved for use in Canada will bear a label, either physical or electronic, noting ISED's certification/registration number.

Applicant for equipment certification must be registered at the ISED database and have a Company Number. All registered companies will have an unique identifier called Company Number (CN) for the ISED.

Labelling requirements established under Radio Standards Procedure RSP‑100 “Certification of Radio Apparatus” and DC-01 “Procedure for Declaration of Conformity and Registration of Terminal Equipment” and Notice 2014-DRS1003 for e-label.

Every unit of the certified product for marketing and use in Canada shall be identified as per these requirements:

  • The Hardware Version Identification Number (HVIN) and the ISED certification number shall be permanently indicated on the exterior of the product or displayed electronically according to e‑labelling requirements:

- the HVIN and the ISED certification number are permitted to be placed on a label, which shall be permanently affixed to the product

- the ISED certification number shall be preceded by "IC:"

- the HVIN is permitted to be listed or placed with or without any prefix (HVIN:, Model#, M/N:, P/N:, etc.)

- the HVIN and ISED certification number are not required to be adjacent to each other

  • The Product Marketing Name (PMN) must be displayed electronically (e‑labelling), or indicated on the exterior of the product or product packaging or product literature, which shall be available with the product or online.

  • The PMN, HVIN and ISED certification/registration number are permitted to be etched, engraved, stamped, printed on the product, or permanently affixed to a permanently attached part of the product.

  • The PMN, HVIN and ISED certification/registration number indicated/displayed (e‑labelling) on any product on the Canadian market must be listed in the REL/TAR.

  • When the Firmware Version Identification Number (FVIN) is the only differentiation between different product versions (PMN and HVIN remain identical) listed in the REL/TAR within a family certification, the FVIN shall be displayed electronically or stored electronically and be easily retrievable.

  • In all cases, the PMN, FVIN, HVIN and ISED certification/registration number text shall be clearly legible.

Note: In all cases, when the ISED certification/registration number and HVIN, and the PMN and FVIN, when applicable, are indicated or displayed on the product according to the above listed requirements, they are not required to be adjacent to each other.

The certification/registration number is made up of a Company Number (CN), assigned by CEB of the ISED, followed by the Unique Product Number (UPN) assigned by the applicant. The certification/registration number format is:



  • The letters "IC:" indicate that this is the ISED certification/registration number, but they are not part of the certification number. XXXXXX-YYYYYYYYYYY is the ISED certification/registration number.

  • XXXXXX is the CN assigned by the ISED. Newly assigned CNs will be made up of five numeric characters (e.g. "20001") whereas existing CNs may consist of up to five numeric characters followed by an alphabetic character (e.g. "21A" or "15589J").

  • YYYYYYYYYYY is the Unique Product Number (UPN) assigned by the applicant, made up of a maximum of 11 alphanumeric characters.

  • The CN and UPN are limited to capital alphabetic characters (A‑Z) and numerals (0‑9) only. The use of punctuation marks or other symbols, including "wildcard" characters, is not permitted.

  • The HVIN may contain punctuation marks or symbols but they shall not represent any indeterminate ("wildcard") characters.

If the dimensions of the product are extremely small or if it is not practical to place the label or marking on the product and electronic labelling has not been implemented, the label shall be, upon agreement with the ISED prior to certification application, placed in a prominent location in the user manual supplied with the product. The user manual may be in an electronic format and must be readily available (applicable to radio equipment).

Note: E-labelling requirements provided in Notice 2014-DRS1003 apply to all devices subject to certification or registration requirements and to applicable Interference-Causing Equipment Standards (ICES).

Safety approval

In Canada, the responsibility for health and safety lies with the Provinces and Territories. Each Province and Territory has specific separate legislation governing electrical safety in its jurisdiction, which includes the adoption of codes and standards and the establishment or delegating of an authority to administer the legislation, to Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs).

The Provinces and Territories all adopt the Canadian Electrical Code (CE Code), Part I, with few amendments, which provides uniform electrical codes and standards throughout Canada. With regards to equipment standards, these requirements are basically set through the Canadian Electrical Code Part II. This ensures that equipment installed in conjunction with the CE Code will be compatible and safe to use under the installation rules.

The Federal Government also plays a role through establishment and funding of the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), a Crown corporation which regulates all electrical products in Canada by accrediting conformity assessment bodies, such as testing laboratories and product certification bodies, to internationally recognized standards.

The Canadian Advisory Council on Electrical Safety (CACES) has been recognized as the central regulatory authority for electrical safety in the SCC accreditation requirements. CACES provides a forum for discussing the safety, technical, and regulatory aspects of developing, promoting, and implementing electrical standards for Canada.

Each Province and Territory designates a representative to participate on the Canadian Electrical Code Committee and on the CACES. The CACES is an independent organization, and its recommendations have no legal standing, but, because its membership includes important influencers in electrical safety at the Federal, Provincial, Territorial and Municipal level, the committee’s decisions can have a major influence on how jurisdictions across Canada deal with similar issues concerning electrical safety and regulation.

There are three main organizations developing standards and certifying products in the electrical safety area:

  • Underwriter's Laboratories of Canada (ULC) for fire alarm related electrical technologies

  • Canadian Gas Association (CGA) for electrical features of gas products

  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA) for all other electrical products

Each of these organizations had separate interaction with regulatory authorities as required by the SCC accreditation requirements.

This provides a framework upon which regulation of electrical safety in Canada takes place.

All electrical equipment which are sold, displayed, used, or disposed in Canada must be tested and certified by a certification body accredited by the SCC against a recognized Canadian product standards. Also equipment must bear a recognized mark or label. The product can then be safely installed according to the rules of the relevant province’s or territory’s adoption of the CE Code. However, for products moved across provincial borders there are neither customs nor border services; consequently, regulators rely more heavily on the post-market oversight and surveillance.

In Canada, there are two different options for product certification:

1. “Field evaluation” is a service that allows a qualified certification expert to assess your uncertified product against required CSA safety and other applicable standards and codes. These are also known as special inspections in Canada.

Field evaluations are available for a wide variety of products, such as all electrical, gas, and mechanical equipment, including:

industrial control panels

automated manufacturing

semiconductor fabrication


switchboards robotics

heating and cooling systems

commercial food service systems

distributed generation systems

energy storage systems


microgrid systems

2. “Safety Evaluation and Certification”. Electrical and electronic equipment must perform reliably and should be evaluated for compliance with applicable functional safety standards CSA. Products are in scope:

  • Household appliances, such as refrigerators and freezers, laundry equipment, dishwashers, room air conditioners, cooking appliances, floor cleaning appliances, etc.

  • Information & Communication Technology (ICT):

- consumer electronics such as professional and high-end audio equipment, consumer-grade 3D printers, flat panel TVs, projectors, computer and recording products, speakers (powered), multi-track recorders, microphones (cabled and wireless), audio control panels, paper folding and printing machines

- power supplies and backup power systems

- computers and workstations including desktop computers, notebooks, laptops, commercials printers, displays, tablets, and more

  • Lighting products

  • etc.

Testing includes electrical safety, energy efficiency, and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) for devices that utilize wireless technology.

Electrical equipment must bear evidence of either a mark or a label of a certification agency accredited by the SCC or an approval label issued by Provincial and Territorial Safety Authority under of the local Regulation.

List of certification agencies accredited by the SCC and approved labels could be found here.

Additionally there is also the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) that applies to a wide variety of consumer products, including children's toys, household products and sporting goods, but excludes products like motor vehicles and their integral parts, etc. as these are regulated by other Canadian laws.

Under the CCPSA, a "consumer product" is defined as a product, including its components, parts or accessories that may reasonably be expected to be obtained by an individual to be used for non-commercial purposes, including for domestic, recreational and sports purposes, and includes its packaging.

The CCPSA places special obligations on manufacturers or importers of a consumer products for commercial purposes, including preparing and maintaining required documents, mandatory incident reporting to the Health Canada regarding any incidents related to their products and the requirement to provide tests or studies that indicate whether a consumer product meets the requirements of the CCPSA upon request.

Energy Efficiency approval

If you manufacture and/or trade between provinces and territories and/or import energy-using products into Canada, you need to know whether your product is:

  • required to meet minimum energy performance standards under Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations;

  • required to have an EnerGuide label;

  • eligible for ENERGY STAR certification as a high efficiency model.

Canada’s Energy Efficiency Act and Energy Efficiency Regulations are administered by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).

Note that some provinces also have their own energy efficiency regulations for many of the federally regulated products. In some cases, provincial regulations may differ from federal requirements or may apply to other types of energy-using equipment.

All of the following regulated products must meet federal energy efficiency standards in order to be imported into Canada or shipped from one province to another for the purpose of sale or lease:

  • Appliances - residential

  • Commercial refrigeration equipment

  • Electronic products

  • Heating and air-conditioning equipment

  • Industrial/commercial equipment

  • Lighting products

  • Water heaters

A full list of Energy Efficiency Regulation product categories may be found here.

Importers are responsible for ensuring that each model of a regulated product they import into Canada for sale or lease, or ship from (inter-provincial shipment):

  • meets the energy efficiency standard set out in the Regulations

  • depending on the product, an EnerGuide label or a lighting product label is affixed to each unit

  • all energy-using products must carry an Energy Efficiency Verification Mark

  • before importing submit an energy efficiency report filed with NRCan

  • provide the necessary Import Reporting to Canada Border Services Agency

Starting from February 2015, importers of regulated energy-using products are able to submit import data required by Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations through the Single Window Initiative (SWI) of the Canada Border Services Agency.

Regulated energy-using products imported into Canada or shipped between provinces must bear an Energy Efficiency Verification Mark from a certification body (there is an exemption for CFL and some general service lamps and an alternative for external power supplies). An energy efficiency verification mark indicates that the energy performance of the product has been verified.

The certification body must be accredited for energy efficiency verification by the Standards Council of Canada. Under some provincial laws, a province can issue a provincial label that indicates that the product meets the provincial energy efficiency levels. NRCan accepts provincial labels as verification marks if the provincial energy efficiency standards are equivalent to, or exceed, the federal standards.

The EnerGuide label is mandatory for:

  • clothes dryers

  • clothes washers (including integrated washer-dryers)

  • dishwashers

  • freezers

  • electric ranges, cooktops, and ovens

  • refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and wine chillers

  • room air conditioners

The EnerGuide label example

The ENERGY STAR symbol is a consumer icon in the Canadian marketplace. It instantly identifies products that have qualified as high efficiency. ENERGY STAR Canada is a voluntary partnership between the Government of Canada and industry to make high efficiency products readily available and visible to Canadians.

The information has been prepared by the GMA Consult Group team.

GMA Consult Group provides a full cycle of international type approval and global market access services for IT, Telecom and industrial electrical products in all countries throughout the world. With proven expertise in worldwide regulations, compliance, certification, and conformity assessment, GMA Consult Group can help your company speed up the access to any market with almost zero efforts from your side.

Need your own guide to the world of certification and approvals? Don't hesitate to contact us via info@gma.trade.

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GMA Consult Group provides a full cycle of international type approval and global market access services for the IT, telecom and industrial electrical products in all countries throughout the world. 

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