More information on amateur radio in Canada is available from the web site of Radio Amateurs of/du Canada, the national amateur-radio organization in Canada. I am not going to restate the entire contents of that web site, but comment on how Canada views foreign amateur licenses and how I obtained my Canadian amateur license in April 2002.
If a foreign ham has a CEPT class 2 license, IARP class 2 permit, or if the foreign ham is a USA citizen with a USA Technician class amateur license (without 5wpm Morse code credit), these amateurs have privileges equivalent to a Canadian licensee with the Basic and Advanced qualifications. This allows access to all bands above 30 MHz, the authority to use up to 2250W PEP, and to use homebrew transmitters and amplifiers.
Any amateur from a country which Canada has a reciprocal-operating agreement other than the USA, and does not hold a CEPT or IARP permit, will have to apply to Industry Canada for the ministerial authorization. The authorization will indicate which Canadian qualifications (Basic, Advanced, Morse Code) the foreign license is equivalent to, the callsign to be used (VE_/callsign), and the length of time the authorization is valid. Foreign amateurs can send a request to Industry Canada before going to Canada or make the request at an Industry Canada district office after arriving in Canada.
I searched the Canadian Amateur Radio Callsign Database to find a callsign I wanted to have. Prospective amateurs in Canada may have up to 3 choices for a callsign on their application, and if all the requested choices are not available - or if there are no choices listed on the application - Industry Canada selects a callsign based on the station address of the amateur. I wanted VE7EWK but found that another amateur already holds that callsign. VA7EWK was available in early April 2002. I made VA7EWK my first choice for a callsign on my application.
On my next trip to Vancouver (12-15 April 2002), I met Bill Tracey VE7QQ, a member of - and the license examiner for - the North Shore Amateur Radio Club of North Vancouver. Bill was ready for me a couple of hours after my arrival in Vancouver, and I met him at his house. I wrote the 100-question Basic exam in about 40 minutes, and had 82 of the 100 questions correct - the passing grade is 60. Then I had to copy 3 minutes of Morse code at 5wpm, and only made one error - passing is no more than 5 errors. In Canada, prospective licensees are also required to send Morse code, so I had to send 3 minutes of text. Once again, only one error - a passing grade, since I could have had up to 5 errors on the sending portion as well. With this, Bill completed my application. I also needed to draft a brief letter, explaining that the Canadian address on my application was my station address for Canadian licensing purposes (I initially used the address of a ham friend in Vancouver - thanks Greg VE7SOD, now unfortunately SK - and now have the address of a hotel I use on my Vancouver trips for that), and that I would like to use another address as the mailing address - my home address in Arizona. Then my application and letter were sent to Industry Canada in Ottawa.
My operator certificate was issued on 30 April 2002, with the Canadian callsign VA7EWK, and I received it at my house in Arizona on 6 May 2002. Industry Canada issues its certificates similar to how the FCC does it in the USA - a certificate-sized (11" x 8.5") version suitable for framing, and a smaller wallet-sized card (when folded in half and laminated) to carry.
On another trip to Vancouver in October 2003, I wanted to write the Canadian Advanced exam, to add the last qualification to my license and essentially hold the top Canadian amateur license "class". I made contact with another license examiner, Fred Chen VE7CX, asking if I could meet him while I was in Vancouver to write this exam. I had worked Fred on HF twice in the last year, and had mentioned that I visit his city periodically, and he offered to meet me on a Friday afternoon with his wife Heather VE7WTX for the exam. I passed the exam, and I now have my new certificate and wallet card from Industry Canada with all 3 qualifications.
At some point in the future, the Morse code examination may be eliminated as an option for Canadian amateurs. In my opinion, this new series of options allows amateurs who want - or need - to pass a Morse code exam that opportunity. Otherwise, there are alternatives that still allow access to the HF bands without the Morse code exam.
I called the Industry Canada Amateur Radio Service Centre, and inquired about the letter. The lady who answered my call advised that with the change in policy related to Canadian amateur callsigns issued in late 2005, the callsign database would now contain Canadian addresses. Non-Canadians could still have a separate mailing address kept on file, but that address would no longer appear in the database - the Canadian address would be there. The text of the RIC-9 document cited in the letter I received did not change with the 2005 update, but apparently Industry Canada decided to make the change in what is stored in the public database.
After a few minutes of talking with this lady, I provided an address of a good friend of mine in a Vancouver suburb. The day after my phone call, the database now showed this address - but with an asterisk before the new address. I had been told that Industry Canada would still keep track of mailing addresses that were different than the station address, and I think the asterisk is the indication of a separate mailing address. In 2002, I saw that there were slightly over 300 entries in the database that did not contain a Canadian address, so this is not a large percentage compared to the over 62000 records (as of 28 August 2006) that were in the database.