Who approves the location of cellular towers?
The City of Medicine Hat is not the approving authority for telecommunication antenna structures. In other words, cellular tower locations are not determined by the City.
Telecommunications towers are critical to Canada's economy and national security, and are therefore within the jurisdiction of the Government of Canada.
A federal agency known as Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISEDC) approves the locations of cellular towers locations. ISEDC is overseen by the federal Minister of Industry.
- Learn more about ISEDC (external link)
The City's role
ISEDC requires that the local land use authority must be consulted for input regarding the proposed placement of a cellular tower, to discuss site options and constraints. Planning & Development Services is responsible for reviewing these submissions, including technical drawings, on behalf of the City of Medicine Hat.
Depending on the details of the proposal, a letter of support (concurrence) or non-support (non-concurrence) is sent to the wireless service provider or its agent, once the review is completed.
If the City owns the land where a cellular tower is proposed, the City can impose conditions on the development of the cellular tower through the lease agreement.
The review of proposals is based on land use and technical criteria. If the cellular tower does not conflict with existing city infrastructure, the location will likely be supported. In cases where the City does not support a proposal, it cannot prevent a proponent from ultimately gaining permission from ISEDC to install the cellular tower, even if it contravenes the City's recommendations. Read more in the article below from Canadian Lawyer magazine:
- Cities have no say on location of cellphone towers: SCC (external link)
The City of Medicine Hat does not evaluate any submission for a telecommunication antenna structure with respect to health and radio frequency exposure issues or other non-placement or non-design related issues.
Questions regarding health issues related to cell phones, cell towers and radio frequency guidelines should be directed to:
- Health Canada (external link) or
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (external link) or
- The proponent (wireless service provider or their agent)
How can I express my thoughts about a proposed cellular tower?
People who live near the proposed locations of new cellular towers must be consulted in advance, according to the ISEDC. Cellular tower proponents are required to notify and respond to a portion of the neighbourhood adjacent to a proposed location (residents, businesses, schools, etc). This notice must be sent by mail or be hand delivered, and must provide at least 30 days for written public comments. A notice must also be published in the local newspaper.
Planning and Development Services recommends the proponent of the cellular tower use the ISEDC Default Public Consultation Process. The City of Medicine Hat does not participate in the proponent's notification process.
- For more information about the public consultation process, see section 4.2 of Radio Communication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems. (external Link)
- For the requirements of the public notification package, see Appendix 1 of Radio Communication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems. (external Link)
- Facts about towers (ISEDC) (external link)
- Canadian cellular towers map (external link)
- The City does not authenticate the accuracy of this info.
- Radio Communication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems (Industry Canada) (PDF)
- Application for siting a cellular tower within Medicine Hat (PDF)
For more information about cellular tower locations within Medicine Hat, contact:
Planning & Development Services
Second floor, City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Medicine Hat, AB T1A 8E6