MOT Warning - Receiving Set License

Many early Canadian radio receivers were manufactured with this notice printed on the back panel, or else on a sticker glued to the back panel:


Any person installing or operating this Receiving Set without having first obtained a license from the Minister of Transport of Canada is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding twenty-five dollars; and the said Receiving Set may be forfeited to His Majesty by order of the Minister, for such disposition as the Minister may direct.

Some may have this additional line: "Extract from Radio Act 1938, Radio Regulations, Part II Para 66 (F)"

The licenses were required before 1938, however. By 1929 three hundred thousand licenses were bought, at $1.00 each.

In 1936 the fee was set at $2.00, and in 1937 it was raised to $2.50. In 1953 the receiving set licenses were discontinued. What I don't know yet is whether the manufacturers were able to make changes in time, or did a few sets make it to market with the label, after the fees were discontinued? At any rate, any set with the warning label must have been made before 1954, possibly before 1953.

A member of the Antique Radios Forum posted that he had a 1926 Canadian General Electric set with the warning label.

Another member posted that he had a Canadian General Electric KL41b wooden table radio with one of the actual licenses, for 1950-51, and he included some of the text:

[Name and address filled out by licensee] ... is hereby licensed, subject to the conditions set forth on the back hereof, to establish a private receiving station and/or to operate one or more battery operated radio receiving sets installed in the said station, and intended solely for and capable of receiving broadcasting, at the above address provided the said address is located in an area not served by an electric distribution system.

[On the back] 1. This licence is not valid for radio receiving sets located in areas served by an electric distribution system or installed in and automobile. 2. The licensee or any other person shall not divulge to any person (other than the properly authorized officials of the Government or a competent legal tribunal) or make any use whatever of any message coming to the knowledge of the licensee and not intended for receipt by means of the licensed apparatus. 3. The radio receiver shall not be operated so as to emit any radiation which interferes with reception by other receiving sets. 4. The station and this licence shall be open to inspection at all reasonable times by duly authorized officers of the Department of Transport, who will produce their cards of identity upon request. 5. This licence is not transferable.

Each line of the text was repeated in French.

One sample that I've seen says "Issued on behalf of the Minister of Munitions and Supply". It had a pair of check boxes, one for when it was valid "at the above address" and another for "in an automobile", then "Insert X in square to which this licence is applicable". Interestingly enough, this document used both of the alternate spellings - license and licence.

For more details on the history of the regulation of broadcasting in Canada, have a look at A Brief History of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation written up by Public Relations CBC Head Office, in 1976.

New stuff - November 22, 2001

I've just successfully bid (eBay) on a license. Here's a small image of it for now, until I actually receive it:

This was issued by the Radiotelegraph Branch of the Canadian Department of Marine and Fisheries, to Andrew Wright of Victoria BC, authorising him to operate "A Radio Receiving Equipment" for one year for a fee of one dollar. I think it was later that they were issued by the Ministry of Transport, probably around 1938.

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