Industry Canada

Industry Canada

February 05, 2014 12:39 ET

Harper Government Making Changes to Cell Tower Placement Rules

New rules will ensure individual Canadians have their say on cell towers in their communities

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 5, 2014) - Industry Canada

Over the last 20 years, wireless services have grown into something that Canadian consumers rely on every day. As a result, we are seeing an increasing number of new cell towers being constructed in our communities. The placement of these towers is becoming ever more divisive with the rapidly increasing demand for wireless services.

Canadians deserve to have a say in how new cell tower locations are identified in their communities. Improvements to Industry Canada's Antenna Tower Siting Policy will ensure that local residents and municipal governments are at the forefront of the tower placement process.

The changes to the policy guiding the installation of new antenna towers will require companies to:

  • consult communities on all commercial tower installations, regardless of height;
  • build the tower within three years of consulting with communities; and
  • ensure that residents are well-informed of upcoming consultations.

The improvements will also strengthen federal communications with the public on tower siting procedures, including new online resources on the process, and new reporting mechanisms to track tower issues and report back to communities.

These measures build on the Harper Government's current tower sharing policies that require companies to first look at sharing existing tower infrastructure, whenever they can, to reduce the number of new towers needed in each community.

Canadian consumers expect their government to make decisions that will deliver more choice, lower prices and better service in the wireless sector for all Canadians. The Government of Canada will continue to work with the wireless sector in the weeks ahead on ways to more effectively balance the concerns of local communities.

For more information, see attached backgrounder.

Quick facts

  • Under the existing cell tower siting policy, a company is only required to consult the community when it plans to build an antenna tower taller than 15 metres.
  • Before any company can build a new cell tower, it is required to look at alternatives like whether there is an existing tower in the same area that it can share.
  • All antenna towers, no matter the height, location or power, have to satisfy Industry Canada's technical requirements and comply with Health Canada's rules to ensure the safety of Canadians.

Quotes

"The placement of new cell towers is often a divisive issue in communities across Canada. It is essential that residents be at the centre of the process to determine the location of a new tower, and it is up to the wireless industry to ensure that local voices are heard. These new rules will give communities a better say in the placement of new cell towers."

- James Moore, Minister of Industry

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Backgrounder

Changes to Canada's Antenna Tower Siting Policy

Industry Canada's existing antenna siting procedures apply to all companies that want to install an antenna tower. The procedures outline the process that a company must follow when installing a new radiocommunication antenna tower. This includes sharing towers where possible, consulting with the local land-use authority (generally the municipality) and the public as required, and adhering to any local antenna siting protocol that exists.

The Government of Canada's policy guiding the installation of antenna towers was established in 2008. Under the original policy, a company was only required to consult with local residents when it was planning to build a tower higher than 15 metres. There was no time limit on when the new tower needed to be built following these consultations; and, in many cases, residents felt they weren't being given adequate notice of the details of the consultation or the plan to build a tower.

To help address the concerns of citizens about the number of new towers being built in their communities, in March 2013 the Harper Government announced changes to its telecommunications policy. These changes reinforced the requirement that any company wanting to build a new tower first had to look at sharing an existing tower or using an existing structure for its antenna.

The improvements to the Antenna Tower Siting Policy that were announced today will further strengthen the requirements for the wireless industry to consult with local residents, increase transparency for municipalities and improve communications throughout the tower siting process.

Specific changes will include:

  • requiring a company to consult on all commercial tower installations, regardless of height;
  • establishing a three-year limit between the time of consultation and the time a tower is built;
  • ensuring residents are well-informed of upcoming consultations by requiring communications from the company to be clearly marked; and
  • encouraging municipalities to get involved early in the tower siting process.

Furthermore, new measures will strengthen federal communications with the public on tower siting procedures. This will include:

  • new online resources; and
  • new reporting mechanisms to track tower issues and report back to communities.

When an issue or impasse arises that is related to a new tower site, the parties can approach Industry Canada for a determination.

Find out more about Canada's Antenna Tower Siting Policy.

Contact Information

  • Jake Enwright
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Industry
    613-995-9001

    Media Relations
    Industry Canada
    613-943-2502
    media-relations@ic.gc.ca