Canadian amateur radio stations generally begin with "VE", some also use "VA". The number following these letters indicates the province, going from "VA1"/"VE1" for Nova Scotia, "VA2"/"VE2" (Québec), "VE3"/"VA3" (Ontario) through "VA7"/"VE7" for British Columbia and "VE8" for the Northwest Territories, with latecomer "VE9" for New Brunswick. ("VE1" used to be for all three Maritime provinces.) "VE0" is for maritime mobile amateur transmissions. "VY1" is used for the Yukon Territory, "VY2" for Prince Edward Island, and "VY0" for Nunavut. "CY0" and "CY9" are Sable Island and St. Paul Island; with little or local population, reception of these distant points is rare, although amateur radio stations do temporarily operate from these islands during shortwave radio contests. Special prefixes are often issued for stations operating at significant events.
The Dominion of Newfoundland prefix "VO" remains in active use by amateurs in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, VO1AA atop Signal Hill in St. Johns being the most famous amateur station. Radio amateurs on the Island of Newfoundland use calls beginning with "VO1", while Labrador amateurs use "VO2". A popular backronym for "VO" stations is "Voice of...", although prefixes do not have any official meaning.
There are 68, 000 licensed operators in Canada with call signs. Industry Canada from the Canadian federal government allots the individual call signs to the radio amateurs it licenses. There are 24 possible 2-letter prefixes and 240 2-letter/1-number prefixes available to Canadian operators based on the ITU blocks (CF, CG, CH, CI, CJ, CK, CY, CZ, VA, VB, VC, VD, VE, VF, VG, VO, VX, VY, XJ, XK, XL, XM, XN, and XO). There are potentially approximately 4, 340, 000 call signs available in Canada.
Of these prefixes, 5 are currently assigned (CY, VA, VE, VO, and VY) for normal amateur radio operation. Industry Canada assigns regular operating call signs from 25 prefix/numeral blocks (e.g. VE1, CY9.). The other prefixes are assigned for special event operation for a time-limited period.
For Canadian amateur licences, suffixes of radio call signs usually comprise two or three letters, the former being available only to amateurs who have been licensed for 5 years or more. Amateurs can hold only one two-letter suffix call sign, but as many three-letter suffix call signs as they wish.