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April 30, 2009 – New GPR Regulations in Canada

Industry Canada announces the rules for Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) in Canada

Industry Canada controls the use of the radio spectrum in Canada. After lengthy consultation with all radio spectrum use stakeholders, Industry Canada has released RSS 220 titled ‘Devices Using Ultra-Wideband (UWB) Technology’.  Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is considered a UWB device. RSS 220 now governs the emission levels and use of GPR technology in Canada.

Industry Canada was cognizant of USA (FCC) and EU (ETSI) regulations on GPR and crafted RSS 220 to have the least impact on manufacturers and users of GPR. RSS 220 emissions limits mirror the FCC 15.509 limits, making GPR equipment requirements common in North America and slightly more stringent than ETSI so equipment will meet EU requirements.

A unique and unprecedented step taken by Industry Canada was to waive the requirement for user licensing.  Unlike the EU, where user licensing is required and is different in every country, Industry Canada recognized the limitations and complexity that licensing would create on the small diverse GPR community and decided that using a directive limiting use to professional and trained users similar to the FCC Part 90 approach was simpler and much more practical.

Sensors & Software has been working closely with groups in all jurisdictions to ensure that sensible regulations are established for GPR, which to a large degree, generate uniformity across the globe. Much of the fear factor is now gone as regulated GPR equipment has been in the market and widely used in some jurisdictions for 7 years with no incidence of interference. While the GPR community stressed that GPR use was benign, many vested interests argued to the contrary causing considerable confusion. As well, the added bureaucracy has slowed development of GPR. We can now report that there is a reasonable set of rules that govern GPR equipment although the performance of low frequency geologic sounding GPR instruments has been heavily limited.