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Cellular Towers and Telecommunication Facilities

What is The City of Barrie's Role?

Cellular towers and other telecommunication facilities are regulated by the federal government through Industry Canada. Municipalities, such as the City of Barrie, are provided an opportunity to comment on the location of new telecommunication facilities as input into the decision making process but the final decision rests in the hands of Industry Canada. Being under federal jurisdiction, telecommunication facilities are not subject to regulation under the Ontario Planning Act through the City’s Official Plan, Zoning By-law, or Site Plan approval process.

Industry Canada’s current protocol requires public consultations for telecommunication towers give people an opportunity to ask questions, provide comments and share their concerns. 

However, Industry Canada permits Municipalities to develop their own “protocol,” within specific parameters, to address how new cell towers are reviewed at the local level. The City of Barrie has developed such a protocol which includes requiring cell tower proponents to conduct a public review process for all towers, including those less than 15 metres in height as well as identifying specific areas and zones within the City where these facilities should be restricted.

While the City cannot enforce the protocol, it is hoped that cell tower proponents will agree to undertake this local requirement in the spirit of cooperation and good corporate citizenship.

The City does not have the authority to stop the construction of a tower and can only provide its comments to Industry Canada for consideration.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association have in February 2013 established a Siting Protocol requiring consultation on proposed cell towers less than 15 metres in height.

For additional resources please visit Industry Canada online.

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