Precautionary messaging and advisories in schools for safer use of wireless devices

Petition: 402

Issue(s): Federal provincial relations, governance, human / environmental health, other, science and technology

Petitioner(s): Canadian organization

Petitioner Location(s): Caledon, Ontario

Date Received: 8 June 2017

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition expresses concerns that students and teachers in schools are being exposed to harmful radiofrequency and microwave radiation from wireless devices and Wi-Fi at levels exceeding the emission guidelines of Health Canada’s Safety Code 6. The petition asserts that users of personal wireless devices in schools are placing their devices too close to their bodies. It suggests that this behaviour is due in part to the lack of awareness of or publicity about the proper precautions for holding and using these devices, and in part to inaction from school board authorities.

The petition asks if the Government of Canada will monitor the levels of radiofrequency and microwave radiation in schools to ensure that levels do not exceed the Safety Code 6 threshold. The petition also requests the federal government to provide specific precautionary messaging and advisories to schools and school boards. In addition, the petition asks if the federal government will run a campaign to educate students, parents, and school staff on the supposed harmful effects of Wi-Fi radiation and on the suggested best practices to reduce exposure.

The petition cites several international examples where authorities have limited or banned the use of Wi-Fi in schools and asks whether the federal government will share best practices on methods for reducing Wi-Fi exposure in schools. The petition asks how the government has responded to requests from the Canadian Teachers’ Federation to implement an education program on the risks of unsafe exposure to Wi-Fi and on the preventive measures to take.

The petition also seeks to know how Health Canada has responded to Canadian doctors and international scientists who have written to the Minister of Health to ask for more guidelines for protection against wireless radiation, especially for children. (According to the petition, more than 50 Canadian doctors and 50 international scientists have written to the Minister on this issue.) Finally, the petition states that numerous studies have shown potential for adverse effects from Wi-Fi at levels even lower than those allowed under Safety Code 6. In light of these studies, the petition seeks a weight-of-evidence analysis of the resources that Health Canada has cited in its conclusion that there is no scientific evidence of harm from Wi-Fi frequencies.

Federal departments responsible for reply: Health Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development