OTTAWA ó New federal rules will mean telecommunications companies must consult with communities before building cellphone towers.
Calling the placement of new cell towers a sometimes "divisive" issue, Industry Minister James Moore said Canadians deserve a "better say" in how they affect their communities.
"It is essential that residents be at the centre of the process to determine the location of a new tower and it's up to the wireless industry to ensure that local voices are heard," Moore said.
Marc Choma, communications director at the Canadian Wireless Telecom Association, likes the new measures, but said they aren't any stronger than the Antenna System Siting Protocol, issued a year ago.
"New towers only ever (go up) because of consumer demand," Choma said. "But I think the protocol we developed goes further than what the government announced today."
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities also supported the changes. The group had been calling on the feds to stop allowing wireless companies to build antenna towers under 15 metres without notifying communities, and said in a statement that the changes "respond directly to our call."
NDP industry critic Chris Charlton accused the government of stealing the new rules from her party. The New Democrats introduced a bill that would have accomplished the same things 18 months ago but it was rejected by the Tories, Charlton said.
"They have no consumer agenda of their own," Charlton told QMI Agency.
The new measures come into effect by summer 2014.