ROC – A: Restricted Operator Certificate with Aeronautical Qualification

June 26, 2024
Category: Popular,Training

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about the ROC A and the legalities surrounding radio usage in Canada. This article will explore and answer some questions surrounding aeronautical radios, including the ROC-A.

Governing Body

The body governing the usage of radios and frequency spectrums in Canada is ISED, or Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada. The regulations surrounding the ROC A and aircraft radio usage is a combination of the Radiocommunication Act and the Canadian Aviation Regulations. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the Radiocommunication Act.

ISED government of Canada logo

License vs. Certificate – What is the Difference?

A radio station license is assigned to any land based radio station and outlines the station’s callsign, authorized frequencies, station type, conditions, and any other authorized equipment such as HF radios, DME, and weather radar. A radio station license can be issued to an aircraft station or a land station. Aircraft that only fly within Canada do not need a radio station license, but aircraft that fly outside of Canada do.

radio station license
A sample of the bottom of a radio station license from an aircraft station. This shows the additional authorized equipment on the radio station license.

A radio station license, or radio license, is not the same as a radio operator’s certificate. An ROC-A is a type of radio authorization issued by the Minister under the authority of section 5(1) of the Radio Communication Act. The certificate (ROC-A) is required by anyone who may be operating any type of aeronautical radio equipment.

Do I need to Carry my ROC-A with me?

There is no official requirement to carry the ROC-A with you when you are operating aeronautical radio equipment. According to section 38 of the Radiocommunication Regulations, you must produce radio authorization to an inspector pursuant to the Act within 48 hours of being requested to do so.

However, companies, flight schools, and airlines can make their own rules and state that you need to carry your ROC-A with you at all times. Additionally, regulations in other countries may also require you to carry it with you at all times; but, we don’t know other countries regulations and therefore recommend you carry it with you when flying internationally.

Can I Swear or Use Profane Language on the Radio?

Legally, yes you can. The prohibition of transmitting superfluous or profane language was actually removed in 2011, one year after the most recent study guide was released. Speech is a protected expression according to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, please be professional when using the radio.


What does ROC A stand for?

ROC-A stands for Restricted Operator Certificate with Aeronautical Qualification. Canadian Flight Trainers has examiners on staff who can perform remote exams in Canada.

How to get an ROC-A in Canada?

You must pass an examination with an ISED Approved Examiner. Canadian Flight Trainers has three examiners on staff to perform remote examinations from anywhere in Canada.

Who issues the ROC-A?

Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) issue the ROC-A.

What is the passing grade for the ROC-A Exam?

The passing grade is a 70% on the closed book exam.


This article was written by Canadian Flight Trainers Chief Instructor Daniel Gustin, M. Ed., ISED Radio Examiner, Airline Pilot, and Transport Canada Class 1 Flight Instructor. Daniel also holds his Advanced Drone Pilot Certificate. He is one of three on staff examiners here at Canadian Flight Trainers who is authorized to conduct remote ROC A examinations for the issuance of the ROC A. To book an exam with Daniel or any of the other examiners, please visit our radio exams page.