Friday, May 16, 2008

Environmental Petition - Installation of cellular towers in Simcoe, Ontario

Installation of cellular towers in Simcoe, Ontario

Petition: No. 229

Issue(s): Environmental assessment, human health/environmental health, and science and technology

Petitioner(s): A Canadian resident

Date Received: 20 December 2007

Status: Reply (replies) pending

Summary: The petitioner is concerned about the installation of a cellular tower adjacent to his property, as well as next to a school, a hospital and a nursing home, without any prior notification and/or public consultation. The petitioner alleges that since the installation, he has been suffering from the effects of radiation emitted by the tower. The petitioner is asking, among other things, that the Government of Canada remove this tower to protect his own health and that of his family and neighbors.

Federal Departments Responsible for Reply: Environment Canada, Health Canada, Industry Canada


[personal information withheld at the petitioner’s request]

December 12, 2007

The Auditor General of Canada
Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development
240 Sparks St.
Ottawa, On
K1A 0G6

Attn. Petitions

Dear Auditor General,

Please accept this letter as a petition under the Auditor General Act. I am submitting this petition because a cellular tower was installed in my backyard with no notification what so ever. I am concerned about this form of radiation and am suffering from symptoms specific to this form of emission and have been diagnosed as such.

I hold the Government of Canada, as the sole custodian and dispenser of licenses for this technology, responsible for the resolution of this issue.

The Facts:

  1. In the early part of 2006 an antenna mysteriously appeared on the water tower on Union St. that is nestled in a quiet residential area in Simcoe, ON.
  2. Rogers was the service provider and it appears that they secured a lease from the County of Norfolk.
  3. Rogers, we are told, advised the County that providing public notice was not required.
  4. The County, which did not have a cellular antenna siting policy, agreed and the cellular antenna were installed on the tower.
  5. The County signed an 18 year lease with the first renewal date in March 2008.
  6. On reviewing the documentation we have found the following:
    • The first preferred site on Virginia Av in Simcoe was turned down for the same antenna because public consultation was required.
    • This site got approval because of plain omission, misinformation or in the worst case lying on the attestation form by Rogers. Lying is defined as conveying a false image or impression.
    • Furthermore Industry Canada is grossly complacent because it allows cell companies to self attest and install antenna without any review of the attestation. Mr. Jack Holt from Industry Canada indicated in a meeting that I had with him that "these guys know what they are doing; they install thousands of these antenna." What does that imply? Who is in charge?
    • In the attestation Rogers attested that a) the there was NO building within 15 meters. Well there are 2 residences within 14 meters. How does a professional engineer with all the technical tools at his disposal get it wrong?
    • They also stated that the antenna was not significant. In fact the water tower had a 44 W FM antenna which was used by the OPP prior to 2006. Rogers added more than 3000 W of Radio Frequency and Microwave power to the water tower and then attested that the installation was NOT SIGNIFICANT.
    • Industry Canada was asked in 2004/5, well before the installation in Simcoe, to define SIGNIFICANT installations/modifications. They did not and have yet to define significance. This has allowed Rogers and others to self "attest" and answer the significance question with a resounding NO without any fear of sanctions.
    • What is the significance of answering NO to the questions in the attestation, notwithstanding the fact that they not truthful? The answer is that it avoids a review by Environment Canada which could delay installations and could precipitate public consultation. This is something Rogers and others don't want and are soundly supported by Industry Canada. This support prompted me to ask Mr. Holt who Industry Canada represented: me a Canadian Citizen or Rogers.
    • I pointed out to Industry Canada through Mr. Holt that the Client Procedure Circulars issued by Industry Canada include sanctions for answering improperly on the attestations. The fact is that Industry Canada does very little, if anything, to audit or review the process. By answering NO to all the attested questions, Environment Canada never gets to do its review.
    • This insidious methodology allows for antenna to get installed in neighbourhoods without consultation.

What should have happened:

  1. Rogers should have filled out the attestation truthfully and answered YES to the question on distance of 15 meters from a building.
  2. This would have allowed Industry Canada and Environment Canada to do their assessment before the antenna was installed notwithstanding the outcome. Note: As a Professional Engineer I am required to sign numerous attestations—passports, environmental certificates of approval, pre start health and safety reviews etc. Does the Government of Canada not require me to sign these attestations truthfully? Imagine if I took it upon myself to LIE on an attestation because I assumed that the outcome was not in my favour or inconsequential. This is the situation we have here.
  3. The Industry Canada FAQ document, issued to the general public, clearly states that all interested parties have an opportunity to consult if one is aware of an antenna or tower that is being erected in a neighbourhood. Please reference the document that was in force in 2005 just before the erection of this tower. Industry Canada has indicated that they want to change this FAQ and the attestation. In other words "fit the evidence to the crime". This is what the FAQ states "What should I do if I am concerned about a proposed tower in my community? Industry Canada recognizes that local community may have concerns about …………..If you have concerns about a proposed tower in your community you may wish to make your views known to your local municipal officials…………."
  4. The residents in the neighbourhood of the Union Street tower in Simcoe should have had the opportunity, as stated in the FAQ, to a public consultation. We DID NOT get this opportunity.
  5. Industry Canada was repeatedly asked, and this is well documented, at the National Tower Review Consultation well ahead of the Union Street tower installation in Simcoe, to define SIGNIFICANT installations and modifications. They did not and have yet to do so. They allow the cell companies to do so and then justify the installation after the fact with NO10 fold and was defined as NOT SIGNIFICANT by Rogers. basis for a definition. In this situation the power was increased
  6. Industry Canada DOES have a dispute resolution mechanism BEFORE a tower goes up but DOES NOT have a dispute resolution mechanism after installation. Even Canada Post has one!!! Hence the only recourse is the Auditor General. Jack Holt from Industry Canada has pointed me in this direction.

What has happened since:

As a result of the "fight" from the residents around this tower in Simcoe, ON, Industry Canada has now revised it Client Procedure Circular,, as of January 2008 stating:

  • That new towers or upgrades will require consultation if installed in sensitive residential areas such as ours. The distance defined for consultation is 3 times the tower height which would have included my residence.
  • That the Cell companies by default have to conduct consultation if the host County lacks a siting procedure.

My Petition:

  1. Given the gross lack of public concern for due process including the host of issues surrounding the omission, misinformation or blatant lies in the attestation and Industry Canada's "cover" for Rogers I am petitioning Industry Canada to reverse this situation in Simcoe and force Rogers to go through the process of public consultation if they still desire to use the water tower. Attention Industry Canada
  2. Given my health issues and diagnosis I need to know why Health Canada, who is fully aware of this situation, chooses to ignore it. There is ample evidence that there are adverse health effects from being very near cell towers. This one in particular is very, very low in height, sits adjacent to homes, an elementary school, a hospital and a nursing home. Where is the precautionary principle as espoused by Environment Canada under CEPA? Attention Heath Canada
  3. Does the Government of Canada know about health studies that contradict Health Canada's assertion that "no studies exist" on the biological effects of towers that are "buried" in neighbourhoods like ours. How does Health Canada explain the following studies:
    • "Naila Study" in Germany, which is very closely scripted to the Simcoe Union Street Tower. In this study the newly developed cancer rate increased 4 fold, 10 years after the erection of a tower in Naila. The cancer rate outside the 400m radius remained unchanged.
    • A similar study in Israel?
    • The Santini et al study in France that describes significant and adverse illnesses within 300 m of a tower?
    • That RF radian illness is a recognized illness in Sweden?
    • That numerous countries have moratoriums on the installation of towers near residential areas, schools and hospitals?
    • That the last update to Health Canada information is 1999? Is it no wonder that they can say that they are "not aware"?
    • That TMOBILE buried a massive peer reviewed study done by ECOLOG an independent scientific institute? Is the AG aware that TMOBILE was the sponsor of the study?
    • That the cellular industry commissioned a study in China and then again buried it after the study determined DNA breaks? Attention Heath Canada
  4. Note: There is an opportunity for the relocation of this tower in the next 4 months. The first lease renewal comes up in March 2008. Another provider has offered to co-share a tower with Rogers. This option requires the Government to act immediately to facilitate this action. The County of Norfolk, who signed the lease, has stated publicly that they will terminate the lease if Rogers agrees. What does the Industry Canada intend to do to Facilitate this? Attention Industry Canada
  5. What does Environment Canada intend to do faced with a tainted attestation form by Rogers? Attention Environment Canada.


We in Simcoe did not get the opportunity to use the dispute resolution mechanism available prior to the installation. Had there been consultation or had the process been followed truthfully this situation would not have existed. On the contrary we have been told that we are hypochondriacs. Given the poor performance or lack of, by the Government through Industry Canada and Health Canada, and its complacency in the erection of this particular tower I am requesting that you the Auditor General conduct an inquiry into this matter and force the removal of this tower by March 2008. My health, the health of my family and neighbours is paramount.


[Original signed by the petitioner]

[personal information withheld at the petitioner's request]

Minister's Response: Environment Canada

27 March 2008

[name and information withheld]

[name withheld]:

I am responding to your Environmental Petition No. 229, to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, regarding the effects on human health of radiation from cellular phone towers. Your petition was received in the Department on December 20, 2007.

Environment Canada has no regulations in place that cover the effects of electro magnetic field radiation on humans and their environment. This is a matter that falls under the responsibility of the provinces and territories. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for the Department to take any action in this regard.


[Original signed by John Baird, Minister of the Environment]

John Baird, P.C., M.P.

c.c.: The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Tony Clement, P.C., M.P.
Mr. Ronald C. Thompson, Interim Commissioner of the
Environment and Sustainable Development