Allan Rock Announces National Antenna Tower Policy Review
OTTAWA, October 31, 2002 — Industry Minister Allan Rock today announced a national consultation review of Industry Canada's antenna tower policy and siting procedures to begin early next year.
"Our goal is to ensure that we have modernized procedures for antenna tower placement that embrace community involvement and expand the economic and social benefits of wireless technologies across Canada," said Minister Rock "I look forward to the results of the consultation and review to ensure our policy reflects the new and emerging technological realities of our society."
In recent years, the growth of wireless communications has caused a substantial increase in the number of antenna towers being erected across Canada. The rules governing these towers fall under the Radiocommunication Act, administered by Industry Canada.
The review will provide an opportunity to identify a wide range of subjects for possible improvements to existing antenna site approval procedures, including:
- How can the local consultation process regarding the siting of a specific tower be improved?
- What are the most appropriate time frames for the processes of approving and resolving debates surrounding specific tower placements?
- What means are available to readily identify whether a proposed installation may create radiofrequency fields in excess of established exposure limits in areas where people live and work?
- What information would most benefit concerned members of the public and how should it be provided?
- How and to what extent can tower sharing be utilized in order to reduce the overall number of towers?
- Can protocols be arranged between local land use authorities and antenna proponents regarding the planning and siting of antenna structures, visual guidelines and dispute resolution mechanisms?
"Access to modern wireless technology is critical to social and economic development in rural and urban Canadian communities," Minister Rock concluded. "I look forward to working with stake-holders and citizens to ensure Canadians receive the benefits of this innovative technology, while maintaining and enhancing our quality of life."
A detailed backgrounder outlining current procedures and key issues for consultation is attached.
For more information, please contact:
Minister Rock's Office
National Antenna Tower Policy Review
Current procedures used to determine tower placements
- Environment — Industry Canada requires that all proposals be compliant with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to ensure that an installation will have no significant adverse environmental effects;
- Radiofrequency fields — Industry Canada sets the requirements for the safety of radiocommunication equipment in Canada. For this purpose, Industry Canada had adopted the radiofrequency emission limits outlined in Health Canada's Safety Code 6 guidelines. All radiocommunication devices must meet this safety standard;
- Land use consultations — The Department has instituted land-use consultation processes to ensure that municipalities and other land-use authorities are made aware of proposed installations prior to construction. Once a particular municipality is informed of a proposal, it should have 30 days to make its views known and another 90 to consult with citizens. Parties are encouraged to work together toward solutions that minimize community impact, including sharing existing antenna structures where possible; and
- Aeronautical obstruction clearance — Industry Canada requires proponents to ensure their towers are first reviewed by Transport Canada to ensure they pose no hazard to air navigation.
Specific issues which may guide the consultation:
- improving the local consultation process regarding the siting of a specific tower to reduce the incidence of surprise that can accompany the appearance of new antenna towers;
- defining the most appropriate time frames for the processes of approving and resolving debates surrounding specific tower placements;
- determining the best means available to readily identify whether a proposed installation may create radiofrequency fields in excess of established exposure limits in areas where people live and work;
- determining the most useful and helpful information and the best means of providing it to concerned members of the public;
- assessing how and to what extent towers can be shared in order to reduce their total number; and
- establishing the best protocols for use by local land-use authorities and antenna proponents that embrace the planning and siting of antenna structures, visual guidelines and dispute-resolution mechanisms.
The review process
A Chairperson to the review committee will be named in the coming weeks. A consultation document, including information on how the public can participate in the review, will follow.
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