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2017 consultation on 5G millimetre wave spectrum — What happened then?

All health concerns were dismissed by Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), relying on Health Canada.

The 2022 consultation on the 26, 28 and 38 GHz Bands arises from the 2019 Decision on Releasing Millimetre Wave Spectrum to Support 5G following a 2017 Consultation on Releasing Millimetre Wave Spectrum.

The 2017 public consultation responses included 246 letters from Canadian citizens and from non-industry organizations representing close to 100,000 Canadians, who opposed the release of the mmWave spectrum. The vast majority cited health concerns.

ISED decided to go ahead with the release of this spectrum. Its reasons for ignoring health concerns were laid out in Section 10 of its decision and can be summed up as follows:

  • Health Canada is responsible for carrying out research, monitoring the scientific literature, and developing guidelines for human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation. According to ISED, Health Canada’s recommended human exposure limits (Safety Code 6), which cover the frequencies that will be used by 5G mmWave technology, are “based on the most current scientific literature on radio-frequency exposure and are designed to provide protection for all age groups, including infants and children, on a continuous basis.”
  • ISED has adopted Safety Code 6, and “ensures that all radiocommunication installations and devices are installed and operated in a manner that complies with Safety Code 6 limits.”

Nine NGOs opposed the release of the mmWave spectrum for health reasons:

• Canadians for Safe Technology
• Prevent Cancer Now
• Rassemblement Électro Sensibilité Québec
• Electromagnetic Pollution Illnesses Canada Foundation
• Environmental Health Association Manitoba
20,000 +
(Estimated total — based
on Appeal signatories)
Fédération des employées et employés de services publics60,000
Learning Disabilities Association Canada10,000
Breast Cancer Action Manitoba?
Global Union Against Radiation Deployment from SpaceInternational Organization

237 individuals wrote NOT IN FAVOUR of the release of the spectrum, most citing health concerns.

The Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA), Canadian Space Agency (CSA) advised caution regarding possible frequency interference.
See reply comments:

IN FAVOUR: Industry:

5G Americas, Bell Mobility (Bell), British Columbia Broadband Association (BCBA), BSO Coalition (BSO), Cambridge Broadband Networks Ltd (CBNL), Ciel Satellite LP and Affiliates (Ciel), Cogeco Communications Inc. (Cogeco), Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA), Ericsson Canada (Ericsson), Facebook Inc. (Facebook), Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), Huawei Technologies Canada (Huawei), IEEE LAN/MAN Standards Committee (IEEE), Intel Corporation (Intel), Intelsat Corporation (Intelsat), Microsoft, MobilExchange Spectrum Inc. (MobilExchange), Nokia, Québecor Média (Québecor), Radio Advisory Board of Canada (RABC), Rogers Communications Canada Inc. (Rogers), Samsung Electronics Canada Inc.(Samsung), Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel), Shaw Communications Inc. (Shaw), Siklu Communication (Siklu), Starry Inc. (Starry), Telesat Canada (Telesat), TELUS Communications Company (TELUS), TeraGo Networks (TeraGo), ViaSat Inc. (ViaSat), Wi-Fi Alliance, Xplornet Communications Inc. (Xplornet).


ISED decided to go ahead with the release of this spectrum. 
Its reasons for ignoring these health concerns were laid out in Section 10 of its “decision”

In summary, ISED stated that it has adopted Health Canada’s Safety Code 6, that these exposure guidelines are “based on the most current scientific literature on radio-frequency exposure” and that ISED ensures industry compliance.  Experts independent of industry influence disagree.  

June 18, 2022: In preparation for the auction of the mmWave spectrum, ISED launched the Consultation on a Policy and Licensing Framework for Spectrum in the 26, 28 and 38 GHz Bands
seeking comments on the policy and licensing considerations including auction format and processes.   Closing date for comments: September 6, 2022

Learn more:

Joint Statement calling for a moratorium on 5G expansion

By Canadian experts and citizens’ groups, August 2022

6 reasons for a moratorium on the release of millimetre wave spectrum

black metal tower under blue sky

Hundreds of recent scientific reports show “wireless” radiofrequency harms