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ETFO wants more info on wi-fi

By Gisele Winton Sarvis, Special to Postmedia Network

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario is calling on Health Canada to make public more information about radio frequencies generated by the use of wireless technology. (QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario is calling on Health Canada to make public more information about radio frequencies generated by the use of wireless technology. (QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)

While Health Canada has determined radio frequency energy used in schools with wireless devices falls within safe exposure limits, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) wants the governing body to make more information available.

An expert panel working at Health Canada’s request determined no additional precautionary measures were needed regarding the exposure levels contained within its Safety Code 6. The report recommended continued research and making more information on the topic available to the public.

“It would make sense for Health Canada to put this recommendation into the context of the classroom and develop a resource for the safe use of wireless technology in our school communities,” ETFO president Sam Hammond said in a press release.

Debra Edwards, Orillia’s trustee on the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB), noted safety concerns regarding the use of wi-fi technology was an issue a couple of years ago and safety of students remains a top priority.

“I think the jury is still out on the issue. I think the request from the federation for an update is fair,” she said.

Asked if he thought the SCDSB should be following up on the topic with regard to developing research and a resource, superintendent of facility services John Dance said, “No, though we welcome any resources or additional research Health Canada provides.”

The results of the panel are being reviewed by Health Canada.

“We will continue to monitor research, development and decisions made by standard setters and regulators in Canada and internationally on wireless technology on behalf of our members,” Hammond added in the statement.

When contacted by The Packet & Times, Janet Bigham, president of the Simcoe County Elementary Teachers’ Federation, referred a reporter to an ETFO staff member who would not speak on the record. ETFO did not respond to further requests for comment.

gisele.wintonsarvis@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @GiseleSarvis


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