Radiocommunications Towers FAQs

Does the town approve radiocommunications facilities?

No. The town does not issue approvals of any form for radiocommunications facilities. Industry Canada has the sole responsibility to approve new radiocommunications facilities.

The town issues Letters of Comment for these facilities. What does that mean?

The Municipal Letter of Comment is a letter, issued by town staff and sent to Industry Canada, that the proponent has contacted the town seeking comment on a proposed radiocommunications facility installation. Currently, the town can only issue this letter for a facility located 200 metres or greater away from a sensitive land use such as residential areas, schools, daycares, health facilities.

Consultation with the public or a municipality is only required on a limited number of installations.

What can the town provide comments on?

Industry Canada will only consider what it deems to be reasonable and relevant concerns on three issues: the design of a new facility, its location on a lot, and the public consultation process. This is expressed through a Council-approved protocol on radiocommunications facilities.

What does a radiocommunications facilities protocol actually do?

A protocol outlines a municipality’s role as in providing comments to proponents and Industry Canada on radiocommunications facilities installations. Industry Canada has established a process where proponents are required to consult with municipalities and the general public on certain proposals.

A municipality can define guidelines to inform this consultation within the limited sphere of influence extended by Industry Canada. In Oakville, the Interim Radiocommunications Facilities Protocol (pdf, 465 kB) informs proponents of its expectations for facility design, sitting on a lot, and the public consultation.

How are the town and public consulted on new facilities?

Industry Canada only requires consultation on a narrow range of new facilities – namely, new towers greater than 15 metres in height and not replacing a current freestanding tower. For these facilities, consultation occurs through either the Industry Canada Default Consultation Process or, where one exists, a municipality’s own protocol. Proponents are required to address all “reasonable and relevant concerns” raised by a municipality or the general public during the consultation process.

In Oakville, the Interim Radiocommunications Facilities Protocol defines a public consultation process. The town expects proponents required to undertake consultation to discuss technical details of their proposal with staff from a facility design and siting perspective. This discussion works in a manner similar to other development review processes.

With the public, the town expects proponents to undertake the following activities:

  • Written consultation with area residents and property owners
  • Erect a notice sign on the property
  • Facilitate an open house, and
  • For proposed towers greater than 30 metres in height, place an advertisement in a local newspaper.

If a proposed facility is greater than 200 metres away from a sensitive land use, the town only requires the posting of a notice sign on the property.

Industry Canada has stated that they will not uphold the 200 metre setback from sensitive land uses. What happens next?

Industry Canada only responds when asked for guidance by either a proponent or a municipality. The town will advise all proponents that no comments will be issued for a facility within 200 metres of sensitive land uses, and the proposed location must be moved. If the proponent asks Industry Canada for their guidance as to how to proceed, the town expects Industry Canada will direct proponents to follow their Default Consultation Process for reviewing the proposal.

What does Industry Canada consider to be a reasonable or relevant concern?

Industry Canada has identified some generally technical and process-oriented questions relating to the technical review for the specific facility, its design, and location.

  • Why is the use of an existing antenna system or structure not possible?
  • Why is an alternate site not possible?
  • What is the proponent doing to ensure that the antenna system is not accessible to the general public?
  • How is the proponent trying to integrate the antenna into the local surroundings?
  • What options are available to satisfy aeronautical obstruction marking requirements at this site?
  • What are the steps the proponent took to ensure compliance with the general requirements of this document including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), Safety Code 6, etc.?

These are examples only, and other concerns could be considered valid by Industry Canada.

What does Industry Canada consider to be not reasonable or not relevant?

Industry Canada identifies a number of areas that are not relevant to individual facility installations. These include disputes about a proponent’s level of service, property value concerns, and the validity or need to reform various federal policies and procedures — including the CPC-2-0-03 procedure guiding radiocommunications installations, and Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 document on radiofrequency exposure.

I think new antennae were erected near my property (i.e. on a rooftop or a new tower). Why did I not receive notice?

Industry Canada excludes a number of radiocommunications facility installations from any form of public consultation. The three main exclusions are:

  • Co-locations where new antennae are placed on an existing building or tower
  • New towers less than 15 metres in height
  • Additions or replacements to existing towers that add less than 25 per cent of the existing structure’s height in new height

When a facility is excluded from consultation, there is no requirement for the proponent to provide any public notice to anyone. This includes both the town and the public. To inquire about a particular installation, contact Industry Canada’s area office.