Ms. Chris Rowan
Sunshine Coast Occupational Therapy Inc.
Zone’in Programs Inc.
Dear Ms. Rowan,
Thank you for your e-mail regarding the impact of technology on child development, behaviour, and learning and for sharing your safe schools and best practices document. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.
The well-being of all students remains a top priority of our government. An important part of supporting well-being, as well as inspiring confidence in publicly-funded education, is working to ensure that our schools and classroom environments are healthy and safe for all students.
Across Canada, the standards for protecting human health from wireless devices —like cell phones, and other sources of electromagnetic radiation— are established by Health Canada. In all areas accessible to the public, including schools, wireless devices are required to meet Health Canada’s exposure guidelines (Safety Code 6). Industry Canada is the federal regulator responsible for assessing whether such communications equipment complies with federal standards, and for approving it. I understand that Health Canada’s position is that the levels of radiofrequency energy emitted by wireless devices are typically well below the exposure limits set out in Safety Code 6.
Health Canada also provides additional guidance to concerned cell phone users so that they may take practical measures to reduce their exposure to RF energy. While there is no evidence that children and teenagers are at increased risks, Health Canada provides information to parents with respect to the use of cell phones.
The Ministry of Education has confidence that Health Canada has the scientific, technical, and public policy knowledge necessary to determine that the use of wireless devices in schools does not pose any adverse health risks to children, youth and adults.
Please note that district school boards and trustees have autonomy in making decisions about the use of wireless devices like cell phones and Wi-Fi in schools, and I am confident that each school board recognizes the importance of providing educators, parents, students, and members of the general public with opportunities for offering meaningful input. I know that thoughtful consideration is taken by boards and school leaders of the concerns raised on this matter.
Please be assured that the ministry takes the health and safety of students seriously, as well as its commitment to helping all Ontario students succeed and lead healthy, productive lives.
Thank you again for writing and sharing your concerns.
Mitzie Hunter, MBA