A single item in this update, and it’s one that affects all Canadians. We know that the current policies of Health Canada and ISED are not adequate to protect us and our environment, but the government is not even enforcing them, whether they pertain to cell phones or cell towers. The people in British Columbia are demanding that the Minister of ISED “walk his talk”.
Please share this widely with your local newspapers and media. BC is not alone — this is happening across Canada and we all need to join forces.
(click on photos to enlarge)
For immediate release
Time for Minister Champagne to make good on his word to“be like a hawk on behalf of Canadians”. His Ministry is sitting on its hands while cell tower companies trample on the rights of residents.
OAKVILLE, ON. April 25, 2023. When is a regulator not a regulator? Groups across Canada answer: when it disregards blatant breaches of its own processes and instead allows telecommunications corporations to totally disregard decisions made by local governments regarding the siting of a cell tower.
Citizens’ groups and non-profit volunteer-based organizations across Canada are calling for Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who is ultimately responsible for cell tower approvals, to “walk his talk.” Minister Champagne was recently quoted as saying he would be “like a hawk on behalf of Canadians.”
If so, then he must ensure his department, Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), requires that telecommunications companies comply with ISED’s procedures.
British Columbia is a current hot spot.
At Channel Ridge on Salt Spring Island, Rogers is building a 40-metre cell tower in a residential area, despite the local land use authority documenting in detail to ISED that Rogers was not respecting ISED’s procedures. According to the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee, “The proponents [Rogers and CREST] falsely asserted they had fulfilled the protocol, provided inaccurate information, and omitted material information in their application, which are valid reasons for rescindment of the concurrence decision.” Julian Clark, spokesperson for the concerned residents, added, “Had Rogers not falsified their application, that particular site could not have been chosen.”
(See the letter to Prime Minister Trudeau from Julian Clark below).
“This is only one example of what is going on across the country. We have examples of the federal government regulator for cell tower approvals allowing TELUS to proceed with a cell tower installation when residents in Qualicum Beach, BC tried, unsuccessfully, to restart the public consultation process when at least eight residents within the prescribed area had not received notification of the proposed cell tower,” says Frank Clegg, co-founder of Canadians for Safe Technology and a former president of Microsoft Canada.
“This is nothing new,” says Sharon Noble of Citizens for Safer Technology based in BC, “about 25 years ago on Triangle Mountain in Colwood, BC, Rogers misled the local Council about their intentions, did not consult and inform the residents, and Industry Canada [now ISED] allowed Rogers to build a second FM tower virtually in people’s backyards.”
Clark says, “The Local Trust Committee has now triggered the dispute resolution mechanism outlined in section 5 of ISED’s Client Procedures Circular, CPC-2-0-03. Unfortunately, the same regulators that forced the LTC to accept a false application are the people who rule on the dispute.”
More than 20,000 Canadians are urgently appealing to the Government of Canada to “provide a meaningful, transparent process for municipalities and their citizens to have a decisive say over the installation of cellular network antennas.” This Appeal also calls for the suspension of further wireless infrastructure and for the promotion of fibre optic and other wired connections.
Minister Champagne must do as he says, put Canadians first, and ensure corporations comply with his Ministry’s own requirements.
The non-profit volunteer-based organizations listed below are willing to provide testimony and suggestions to ISED.
– 30 –
Marg Friesen, Canadians for Safe Technology
Julian Clark, Spokesperson for Concerned Residents of Channel Ridge, Salt Spring Island BC Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Oona McOuat, Let’s Connect Salt Spring
Phone: 250-537-2088 Email: email@example.com
Sharon Noble, Citizens for Safer Technology
Shelley Wright, Canadian Educators for Safe Technology
Marg Friesen, Manitobans for Safe Technology
Lori Curran, Albertans for Safe Technology
Hilary Jones, Vancouver Island Safe Tech Alliance (VISTA)
1. Industry, Science and Economic Development Canada – Client Procedures Circular CPC-2-0-03, Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems
2. URGENT APPEAL to the Government of Canada to Suspend the 5G Rollout and to Choose Safe and Reliable Fibre Connections.
From: Julian Clark [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, April 2, 2023 9:22 PM
Cc: email@example.com; Jagmeet.Singh@parl.gc.ca; Yves-Francois.Blanchet@parl.gc.ca; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Subject: Industry Minister’s Words Ring Hollow
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
When your government announced the approval of the Rogers takeover of Shaw Communications last Friday, Industry Minister Champagne attempted to comfort critics of the deal with stern words for Rogers and the telecommunications industry as a whole. Minister Champagne vowed to “be like a hawk on behalf of Canadians” to ensure compliance with conditions of the deal; and, with regards to enforcement, Minister Champagne said he “would not mess with the regulator”.
Ironically, on the same day, Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED – the federal regulator for cell tower siting under the responsibility of Minister Champagne) advised officials from our local government that even though Rogers falsified their application to construct a cell tower in the midst of our medium density residential neighbourhood, there was nothing our local government could do to stop the development.
In May 2021, Rogers applied to the Salt Spring Island (BC) Local Trust Committee (SS LTC – our land-use authority under the BC Government Islands Trust Act of 1974) to site a 40 meter cell tower in a residential area known as Channel Ridge, approximately 40 meters from the nearest home. Based on Rogers assertion that they had completed the required protocol, the SS LTC provided concurrence with the siting in September 2021. However, soon thereafter it became evident to the SS LTC that Rogers had not fulfilled the protocol as asserted. When the SS LTC reached out to ISED in October 2021, ISED advised the concurrence decision could be rescinded if inaccurate or incomplete information was provided during the application process.
Upon further investigation, the SS LTC concluded Rogers’ proposed site for the cell tower construction was not in compliance with the required protocol, and furthermore, had Rogers not falsified their application that particular site could not have been chosen. As a result, the SS LTC rescinded their concurrence decision in March 2022 and asked Rogers to suspend development activity.
In May 2022, in what has the appearance of a conflict of interest, ISED wrote to the SS LTC indicating they didn’t support the rescindment decision. This letter was not pursuant to any formal dispute being filed under the regulations (CPC 2-0-03), and hence the basis upon which it was written is questionable. Furthermore, the writer had filled a position at ISED that the Rogers executive responsible for the proposed tower siting had recently vacated.
Minister Champagne and ISED were fully briefed in July 2022 with respect to both Rogers falsifying their cell tower siting application and the appearance of a conflict of interest. The SS LTC wrote to Rogers, with copy to ISED, on numerous occasions (July 2022, November 2022, and February 2023) requesting that Rogers suspend construction of the tower at the proposed site. In their most recent communication to Rogers with copy to ISED, the SS LTC stated:
“By statements made in their application, the Proponents (Rogers and CREST) clearly knew that completion of the draft Model Protocol was required for concurrence. The Proponents (Rogers and CREST) falsely asserted they had fulfilled the protocol, provided inaccurate information, and omitted material information in their application”.
The residents of Salt Spring Island, and more specifically Channel Ridge, are not against cell towers. In fact, they and the SS LTC have suggested alternate sites on 570 hectares of bare land adjacent to Rogers’ proposed site, which has several locations of equal or greater elevation.
It’s incredibly concerning that one of Canada’s premiere public companies would falsify their application to a local land use authority when federal regulations require them to work together so that local tower siting preferences and concerns are respected. It’s worse that this supposed premiere company has not only bullied the local Channel Ridge community, but also run rough shod over the local government to avoid having to play by the rules. But the most egregious and sickening factor in this entire debacle is that the regulators, a federal department that reports to your Minister of Industry, are aiding and abetting this travesty.
For Minister Champagne to talk tough to Rogers and the telecommunications industry on compliance with regulation and hard-hitting enforcement is laughable! His absence in the farce being played out on Salt Spring Island, and ISED’s conduct in allowing Rogers to push through development of a cell tower based on a falsified application, demonstrates that Minister Champagne is not walking the talk!
The SS LTC have indicated they intend to trigger the dispute mechanism provided for under the federal antenna siting regulations. We believe this process will provide ISED and Minister Champagne with an opportunity to comprehensively review the application process inadequately followed by Rogers in 2021. And in the event they find that Rogers did falsify their application, they should immediately reverse course and demand that Rogers cease development at the proposed site. Anything less will clearly reveal that Minister Champagne’s words ring hollow!
Spokesperson for the Concerned Residents of Channel Ridge
Salt Spring Island, BC
Sharon Noble, Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters/Citizens for Safer Tech
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Sent from my wired laptop with no wireless components. Practice Safe Tech.