Recognition, protection, and accessibility for persons who suffer health impairment related to contamination by electromagnetic pollution

Petition: 406

Issue(s): Governance, human / environmental health, other, science and technology

Petitioner(s): Canadian organization

Petitioner Location(s): Etobicoke, Ontario

Date Received: 20 June 2017

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition raises concerns about persons who suffer from health impairment related to contamination by indoor and outdoor electromagnetic pollution. The petition also calls attention to the Minister of Health’s 6 October 2016 response to the Standing Committee on Health report related to Safety Code 6, Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation and the Health of Canadians—particularly regarding recommendations 2, 3, 4, and 5. This Government Response followed a Standing Committee on Health report on electromagnetic hypersensitivity that was tabled in the House of Commons in June 2015 and re‑tabled in June 2016.

Recommendations 2 through 5 suggest that the federal government consider taking the following actions: having Statistics Canada include survey questions on electromagnetic hypersensitivity as part of its Canadian Community Health Survey; providing funding research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to study electromagnetic hypersensitivity and its impacts on workplace health; asking specified Canadian and international medical organizations to update guidelines for electromagnetic hypersensitivity and education materials; and continuing to provide reasonable accommodations for those afflicted with electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

The petition calls on the federal government to provide information about reported electromagnetic hypersensitivity cases in Canada and to share information about the primary research studies that Health Canada relies on to make its evidence statement about electromagnetic hypersensitivity. The petition asks whether Health Canada has corresponded with the Swedish government regarding electromagnetic hypersensitivity. The petition also asks if Health Canada will update its assumptions about electromagnetic hypersensitivity and whether Health Canada will provide sufficient resources for the appropriate care of Canadians afflicted with electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

The petition asks about the proactive steps that Health Canada will take to inform Canadians of exposure susceptibilities to wireless radiation and about how the Government of Canada plans to determine the extent of electromagnetic hypersensitivity within the federal public service. It alleges that the government is not proactive in educating employers about the need to provide a safe working environment according to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The petition asks if the government has evaluated the economic impacts of Canadians suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity. It also asks if Statistics Canada would conduct surveys similar to those conducted in 2007 and 2014 that would include electromagnetic hypersensitivity (according to the Standing Committee on Health report’s Recommendation 2).

The petition requests specific details on the government’s electromagnetic frequency and health research funding opportunities. It asks if the government will invest resources in electromagnetic hypersensitivity research. It also asks whether Health Canada has gathered perspectives on electromagnetic hypersensitivity and suggestions from specified medical professionals and societies. The petition further asks what Health Canada is doing in response to Recommendation 4 of the Standing Committee on Health report to contact other bodies of medical professionals.

The petition asks why Health Canada has not followed through on the Royal Society of Canada panel’s 2014 recommendation to investigate the symptoms of people afflicted with electromagnetic hypersensitivity. The petition also raises concerns about the removal of a sentence from Safety Code 6 in 2009 about susceptibilities and harm from exposure to electromagnetic fields–language that it claims was removed without any internal communication within Health Canada. Lastly, the petition asks if there will be a process to ensure that Health Canada makes future amendments to Safety Code 6 in a transparent manner.

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