Amateur or "ham" radio is the most popular radio service for backcountry communications, due it its potential range, higher power than license-exempt devices, variety of features, and the ability to use repeaters.
As with other radio services, while anyone can listen freely, a license is required to transmit in the ham bands, as well as to possess an amateur radio. A basic ham license can be obtained by passing a course put on by a local radio club, but all you really need to do is pass the exam, and your license is then good for life. You can study online at sites like hamstudy.com, or by working through practice exams on ISED's website. A list of examiners can be found there as well, and while they're allowed to charge a small fee for their time, many will administer the exam for free.
The regulations surrounding the types of radios hams may use are pretty lax; while you would normally want an actual amateur radio for the ability to directly program frequencies, you may also use land mobile (aka "commercial") radios, as well as "unlocked" radios like Baofengs and other offshore brands.
While it's commonly referred to as "VHF", there are actually ranges of frequencies set aside for hams in nearly every band. In the VHF (Very High Frequency, 30-300MHz) band, hams are allocated 50-54MHz (6m wavelength), 144-148MHz (2m), and 222-225MHz (1.25m). Other common frequency bands for hams to use are 28-29.7MHz (10m HF, or High Frequency) and 420-450MHz (70cm UHF, or Ultra High Frequency). Your basic Canadian ham license allows you to use these and others.
The ability to use repeaters to extend your contact range is one of the primary benefits of ham radio over other services. Some can link world-wide via Internet connections, others allow you to place phone calls. We recommend downloading the RepeaterBook app to your phone or tablet; it works offline and can use the built-in GPS to find your location and show you the nearest repeaters to you.
Off-roaders around North America commonly use 146.460MHz as their primary contact frequency. 146.520MHz is the designated "national calling frequency" in North America and the best option to make initial contact with someone else. It's good etiquette to move to another frequency for chit-chat once contact has been made, but you want to familiarize yourself with which frequencies are designated for other uses (repeaters, APRS, CW, etc.)
It's important to note that a ham license does not allow you to use land mobile frequencies such as the RR (Resource Road) channels; transmitting on those requires the relevant license from ISED (which can usually be obtained through a radio shop that sells and programs land mobile radios). It's only legal to access those channels on a land mobile ("commercial") radio, or a radio that is incapable of transmitting on them (ie. no Baofengs or "modded" ham radios).