What was the City’s approach to creating the protocol? What are the priorities?
City Administration drafted the protocol based on standard practice and an assessment of needs and preferences specific to our city. We hired a third party to perform an independent peer-review of the draft, and now we are sharing with wireless companies, other stakeholder groups and the public for review and comment.
Our priorities in the protocol about location and design include minimizing redundancy of facilities; avoiding heritage and natural lands; minimizing impacts on parks, open space and residential areas and integration with public realm, where possible.
Are cell towers safe?
The federal government requires all cell towers to meet strict limits on the amount of energy that can be present in areas where the general public has access. The consensus of the scientific community is that radio-frequency energy from cell phone towers is too low to cause adverse health effects in humans. Learn more about health and safety on Industry Canada’s Radio Frequency Energy and Safety page and about Health Canada’s Radio-frequency Exposure Guidelines here.
What are the rules about building a new cell tower?
A wireless company must first study the possibility of sharing existing towers in an area before building a new tower. If none are suitable, the company must follow steps to build a new tower, including consulting the public and adhering to the municipality's requirements for tower siting and design. View Industry Canada’s helpful infographic on the process.
Can residents oppose the existence or location of a new tower in their area?
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada has mandated new cell towers to ensure enough wireless service for all Canadians, so it is inevitable that new towers will need to be built and in the right locations. Wireless companies must inform the public on the location of a new cell tower in most cases and address resident concerns where possible.
The City’s position takes into consideration adherence to the local protocol and the feedback of affected residents. Where the City opposes the location or design of a proposed tower, it can indicate its opposition to the Federal Government and can request dispute resolution.