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City of Toronto - “Free” WiFi in Public Places Proposal

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In November 2013, The Economic Development Committee voted to defer indefinitely the motion brought forward for free Wi-Fi in Toronto’s public parks and spaces after hearing from residents worried about the possible health impacts of Wi-Fi operating in public spaces. Other concerns raised were security, impact on the park experience, costs and the impact on children, the elderly and the electrosensitive. Please see HERE for more details.

SEPTEMBER 2015 UPDATE: Toronto Councillor Josh Matlow has brought back his motion for free Wi-Fi in Toronto’s public parks and spaces. Read the full motion HERE.

The arguments against this idea are even stronger this time around:

  • The published, peer-reviewed science showing links to cancer, fertility and developmental disorders from exposure to wireless devices has increased significantly
  • Countries such as France, Taiwan and Belgium have passed laws limiting exposure to children and infants from the radiation from wireless devices
  • The Parliamentary committee on Health submitted its report to the Government on June 17, 2015 with twelve recommendations that raise major issues about Safety Code 6. (this committee report was supported by the elected representatives of the Conservative, NDP and Liberal parties. See the recommendations below.
  • Health Canada’s official admitted to the Parliamentary committee that there are studies that show harm below Safety Code 6, the guidelines that Toronto will rely on in this motion. Click here for the testimony.

Now is NOT the time to move forward with a motion that would put the health and safety of all Torontonians at risk.

Please use the email form on the right to send a message to the city clerk on the Economic Development Committee that this is not a good idea and request the GMC committee vote against this motion.

HESA Recommendations

That the Government of Canada, in collaboration with the health departments of the provinces and territories, examine existing cancer data collection methods to improve the collection of information relating to wireless device use and cancer.

That Statistics Canada consider including questions related to electromagnetic hypersensitivity in the Canadian Community Health Survey.

That the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, consider funding research into electromagnetic hypersensitivity testing, diagnosis and treatment, and its possible impacts on health in the workplace.

That the Canadian Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the World Health Organization consider updating their guidelines and continuing education materials regarding the diagnosis and treatment of electromagnetic hypersensitivity to ensure they are based on the latest scientific evidence and reflect the symptoms of affected Canadians.

That the Government of Canada continue to provide reasonable accommodations for environmental sensitivities, including electromagnetic hypersensitivity, as required under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

That Health Canada ensure the openness and transparency of its processes for the review of Safety Code 6, so that all Canadians have an opportunity to be informed about the evidence considered or excluded in such reviews, that outside experts are provided full information when doing independent reviews, and that the scientific rationale for any change is clearly communicated.

That the Government of Canada establish a system for Canadians to report potential adverse reactions to radiofrequency fields.

That an independent scientific body recognized by Health Canada examine whether measures taken and guidelines provided in other countries, such as France and Israel, to limit the exposure of vulnerable populations, including infants, and young children in the school environment, to radiofrequencies should be adopted in Canada.

That the Government of Canada develop an awareness campaign relating to the safe use of wireless technologies, such as cell phones and Wi-Fi, in key environments such as the school and home to ensure that Canadian families and children are reducing risks related to radiofrequency exposure.

That Health Canada conduct a comprehensive review of all existing literature relating to radiofrequency fields and carcinogenicity based on international best practices.

That the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, consider funding research into the link between radiofrequency fields and potential health effects such as cancer, genetic damage, infertility, impairment to development and behaviour, harmful effects to eyes and on the brain, cardiovascular, biological and biochemical effects.

That the Government of Canada and manufacturers consider policy measures regarding the marketing of radiation emitting devices to children under the age of 14, in order to ensure they are aware of the health risks and how they can be avoided.


C4ST and concerned Torontonians believe blanketing Toronto in increased wireless RF radiation when the guideline for cumulative RF exposure to Canadians - Safety Code 6 is the middle of a national controversy, is a bad idea. Complete investigations and analysis need to be made into both the cost and health effects before this recommendation can be considered and understood.

What is Safety Code 6?

Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 is the exposure guidelines for the cumulative limit of wireless/RF radiation exposure to the human body. It governs the emissions from cell phones, cell towers and antenna, WiFi, smart meters, as well as consumer goods such as cordless phones and baby monitors. It was put in place in the 1980’s, based on tests done to a 220lb mannequin on 6 minutes of exposure, does not take into account children, or biological effects at all and is embroiled in a national conflicted controversy unfolding in Ottawa at the moment. It is one of the worst in world today leaving Torontonians and Canadians at the mercy of industry. Learn more HERE.

Let the Economic Development Committee know that Health Canada's Safety Code 6 is a blown out safety code: They are putting the fate of all Torontonians in the hands of this 'safety net' while the process to review it is completely corrupt and broken.

Is Wi-Fi included in the IARC/WHO’s 2B classification of RF-EMF?

Yes. In May of 2011, the IARC (International Association for Research on Cancer) declared radio frequency radiation as a possible cause of cancer. Click HERE for official document. Since then Federal, provincial, and municipal health authorities in Canada have made the FALSE claim that the IARC declaration of RF as a possible human carcinogen refers ONLY to mobile phones. This is not and has never been the case. Wi-Fi and all RF-EMF emitting devices are included in this grouping.

Why the confusion?

IARC does not classify devices, they classify exposures. The 2B designation therefore applies to all RF-EMF exposures, regardless of the source. It isn’t the physical source that is being evaluated; it’s the type of emission that exits from any source, that is being evaluated.

Confirmation from IARC

In this video clip (click HERE) Dr. Jonathan M Samet, MD, University of Southern California, Chairman of the Working Group, states at the 3.12 minute mark “the designation of class 2B RF-EMFs is unspecified as to source, class 2B has broad applicability to sources that emit RF-EMFs".

Confirmation from Dr Robert A Baan PhD, Responsible Officer, Monograph 102 on RF-EMF, The IARC Monographs, IARC, Lyon, FRANCE

“Many other devices emit the same type of RF radiation, e.g.,base-station antennas, radio/tv antennas, WiFi stations, smart meters, etc. Therefore, all these fall under the same broad evaluation of “Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields.” Click HERE to read.

In 1999 Toronto Public Health recommended an additional (100-fold) level of protection to Safety Code 6 due to the absence of proof of either safety or harm arising from RF exposures. See HERE. Health Canada did nothing.

We know from other carcinogens, that if studies on adults show strong relationships for malignant cancer in adults, the results for children will be far worse as their cells are dividing much faster. As each cell divides, cell errors triggered by RF radiation have more profound lifetime implications.

Toronto's Medical Officer Of Health Dr. McKeown is on record as campaigning for smoking to be removed from public parks, as have been carcinogenic pesticides. It is in the public's best interest that yet another carcinogen is not allowed in Toronto public spaces.

Do not allow another carcinogen in Toronto's outdoor public spaces!

Councillor Josh Matlow is calling for a staff report on adding free public wireless internet in Toronto’s parks, civic squares, privately owned public spaces and business improvement areas.

What Josh Matlow and Toronto Council may not yet realize is that the by-product of a high powered Wi-Fi network such as this is high levels of RF radiation. With regards to the safety of radio-frequency radiation, there is growing evidence of biological harm, so much so that in 2011 the World Health Organization added radio-frequency radiation (which includes wireless) to its list of Possible Human Carcinogens as well as the Canadian Federal Standing Committee on Health just came out with their 12 recommendations on limiting the exposure of wireless devices to Canadians, especially children. With a concentration of exponentially high levels of RF radiation already emitting from cellular towers and antenna, smart meters, etc, in Toronto 24/7, it is not wise to increase the radiation levels further at this time with public Wi-Fi.

Email to alert the management committee of your opposition to this plan. Costs and health effects need to be examined and analysed.

UPDATE – November 4th, 2013

Toronto Board of Health Rejects Medical Officer of Health’s recommendation to remove Prudent Avoidance. Passes two other recommendations re RF exposure.

Toronto Board of Health Rejected the Removal of PA Recommendation

City Council discontinue the prudent avoidance policy wherein the City requests that radiofrequencies from cellular phone base stations are kept 100 times below Safety Code 6 in areas where the public normally spends time;

Click HERE to read the minutes from the November 4th Toronto Board of Health Meeting

Click HERE to read the Full Recommendation to Toronto Council to Remove PA

Click HERE to read the Toronto Public Health Full Report

Toronto Board of Health Passed These Recommendations

The Board of Health encouraged Industry Canada to:

  1. Conduct regular monitoring for radiofrequencies arising from telecommunications structures in Toronto, and to make this information publicly available and accessible
  2. Ensure that information regarding the locations and estimated emissions of all cellular phone antennas is publicly available and accessible

What is Prudent Avoidance?

Prudent avoidance is a precautionary principle in risk management, stating that reasonable efforts to minimise potential risks should be taken when the actual magnitude of the risks is unknown. In this case it takes the form of wireless radiation (EMR/RF) dictated in a document called Safety Code 6.


Email to alert the management committee of your opposition to this plan. Costs and health effects need to be examined and analysed.

Economic Development Committee

Michael Thompson - Chair
Email: councillor_thompson@toronto.ca

Shelley Carroll
Email: councillor_carroll@toronto.ca

Raymond Cho
Email: councillor_cho@toronto.ca

Vincent Crisanti
Email: councillor_crisanti@toronto.ca

Mary Fragedakis
Email: councillor_fragedakis@toronto.ca

Norman Kelly
Email: councillor_kelly@toronto.ca


Key Toronto Contacts

John Tory - Mayor
Email: Mayor_Tory@toronto.ca

Toronto City Clerk
Email: edc@toronto.ca


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Send A Letter - Toronto WiFi

Send your concerns to the Economic Development Committee for consideration on Friday September 18th.

Tell them based on the recent HESA recommendations, now is definitely NOT the time to move ahead with Councillor Matlow’s motion for free WiFi in public spaces.

I understand that my comments and the personal information in this email will form part of the public record and that my name will be listed as a correspondent on agendas and minutes of City Council or its committees. Also, I understand that agendas and minutes are posted online and my name may be indexed by search engines like Google.

Number of Emails Sent: 0
Target Emails To Send: 200
Remaining Emails To Target: 200

For ideas on what to include in your letter, please review this document.

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