GL-08 — Guidelines for the Preparation of Radio Frequency (RF) Exposure Compliance Reports for Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems

Issue 3
February 2023

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This guideline, GL-08, issue 3, Guidelines for the Preparation of Radio Frequency (RF) Exposure Compliance Reports for Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems, replaces GL-08, issue 2, published in July 2019.

The main changes are listed below:

  1. synchronized the reporting requirements with those found in GL-01, issue 4, Guidelines for the Measurement of Radio Frequency Fields at Frequencies From 3 kHz to 300 GHz
  2. introduced requirements for radar installations
  3. made editorial changes and clarifications, as appropriate

Issued under the authority of
the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Director General
Engineering, Planning and Standards Branch

Director General
Spectrum Operations Branch

1. Scope

This document provides guidelines and establishes key parameters required to be included in radio frequency (RF) exposure compliance reports prepared by proponents and operators of all radiocommunication and broadcasting antenna installations. While this document provides guidance, it is the responsibility of proponents and operators to provide all relevant information to demonstrate compliance with Health Canada’s Safety Code 6, Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy in the Frequency Range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz (SC6), which may be amended from time to time for the protection of the general public. To this end, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) can at any time request clarification or additional information during its assessment of RF exposure compliance reports.

For enquiries related to the compliance of a site with SC6, proponents and operators may contact their local ISED office via RIC-66, Addresses and Telephone Numbers of District Offices.

2. Introduction

As outlined in Client Procedures Circular CPC-2-0-03, Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems, it is the responsibility of proponents and operators of radiocommunication and broadcasting installations to ensure that their facilities comply with SC6 at all times, taking into consideration the local radio environment.

Compliance with SC6 is an ongoing obligation and operators of antenna installations must retain copies of all information related to SC6 compliance, such as analyses, measurements and compliance reports. At any time, ISED may request operators to provide detailed compliance information for individual installation. As specified in CPC-2-0-03, operators must provide the requested information within five days of the request. Information requests may include a site layout drawing or map which details access control measures and locations, area demarcation (signs), any proposed changes to station operating parameters, and any other relevant information.

3. Related documents

All Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada publications related to spectrum management and telecommunications are available on the Spectrum management and telecommunications website. The latest versions of the following publications should be used in conjunction with this guideline.


  • BPR: Broadcasting Procedures and Rules
  • CPC: Client Procedures Circular
  • GL: Guideline
  • SC6: Safety Code 6
  • TN: Technical Note

4. Safety Code 6 evaluation

As per CPC-2-0-03, compliance with SC6 requirements may be demonstrated by providing one or a combination of the following:

  • theoretical calculations or simulations
  • field measurements
  • detailed plan demonstrating corrective measures taken to ensure compliance

For broadcasting undertakings, the specific requirements outlined in section 8 of Broadcasting Procedures and Rules BPR-1, General Rules, shall be verified when evaluating SC6.

When calculations are used to show compliance, a description of the mathematical prediction model(s) used must be included in the RF exposure report. In the case of computational evaluations, a description of the software used should also be provided. Figure(s) (displaying north bearing and a scale in the legend to indicate distances) clearly identifying SC6 compliance contours should be provided. Near field and far field considerations and a description of how field reflections are being considered must be addressed in the report. See section 5.3.1 for details.

When calculations, using worst case assumptions (methodology outlined in Technical Note TN-261, Safety Code 6 (SC6) Radio Frequency Exposure Compliance Evaluation Template (Uncontrolled Environment Exposure Limits), or other comparable methods), show that RF exposure levels exceed the uncontrolled environment limits of SC6 in any area accessible to the general public, field measurements, or the implementation of permanent mitigation measures restricting public access (see CPC-2-0-20, Radio Frequency (RF) Fields — Signs and Access Control for details), shall be detailed in the report in order to demonstrate compliance.

Note 1: A site will be deemed non-compliant if, at any publicly accessible location, the report indicates RF exposure levels exceeding 100% of the uncontrolled environment limits of SC6, including the expanded uncertainty budget of the measurement equipment.

When field measurements are used to demonstrate compliance, information such as dates when measurements were taken, temperature, and whether transmitters were operating at maximum power at the time of measurement must be noted in the RF exposure report. In addition, the measurement methodology used (i.e. scanned spatial averaging versus detailed spatial averaging) should be described (see section 5.3.2 for details). Measurements used to assess compliance of new or existing installations being modified should be taken immediately after the station is turned on for testing.

A description of each piece of equipment used for field measurement, as well as the equipment manufacturer’s expanded measurement uncertainty and calibration information of each measurement device (e.g. the accuracy of measurements in dB) must be included. The expanded measurement equipment uncertainty must be added to each measurement point.

Note 2: As specified in guideline GL-01, Guidelines for the Measurement of Radio Frequency Fields at Frequencies from 3 kHz to 300 GHz, when the measured value plus the equipment manufacturer’s expanded measurement equipment uncertainty exceeds the SC6 limits for uncontrolled environments in any publicly accessible locations, the site will be considered non compliant.

In such cases, corrective measures shall be implemented without delay in order for the site to be considered compliant with the SC6 requirements as specified in CPC-2-0-03 and CPC-2-0-20.

Note 3: ISED does not prescribe requirements on how manufacturers must evaluate the expanded uncertainty budget of their equipment. Nonetheless, ISED will only accept detailed expanded uncertainty budgets based on sound engineering practices such as those referenced in the document Evaluation of measurement data — Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement.

The maximum normalized percentages (%) of the Safety Code 6 limit for uncontrolled environments, as well as their locations, must be clearly identified in the report. See section 5.3.2 for details. In addition, the RF exposure report shall conclude with a clear statement attesting to SC6 compliance (see appendix A for an example).

5. Elements to include in RF exposure reports

This section provides a template for the key information that should be included in the RF exposure report.

5.1. Title Page

The title page must contain the assessment date, company name, site name (where the antenna system is located), name(s) of person(s) conducting the RF exposure compliance study, including the title, signature, and date on which the report was signed.

5.2. Description of site and installation

The RF exposure report must contain general information on the site such as the site name, address and coordinates. A description of the site location and antenna structure, as well as a summary of the installation, should also be included (see tables 1, 2 and 3).

A description, including calculations, simulations and/or measurements, of all publicly accessible locations (e.g. balconies, viewing points, observation decks, parking lots) in the vicinity of the antenna site must also be included in the report.

The RF exposure report must contain an elevation plan or sketch showing the location of all antennas at the site, including all guy-wire placements. It must also contain the location of all signage and access control mechanisms such as locked doors, fences and locked gates. Where fencing (or other suitable barriers, as specified in CPC-2-0-20) is used to ensure compliance of guy-wires and associated anchor points, its location and separation in relation to the guy-wires and associated anchor points must be clearly indicated in the site plan diagram. Rooftop sites must include a site plan clearly identifying all access points to the rooftop and showing the location of each transmit antenna on the rooftop.

Table 1: General information on the site
General information
Site name  
Site coordinates

Table 2: Description of the site location
Site description  
Structure type (e.g. rooftop (with locked access), water tower, monopole, mast, lattice tower (with anti-climb))  
Is the tower using guy-wires? YES/NO
Owner of the building and/or antenna structure  
Overall height of the antenna-supporting structure from the ground level (m) (and above rooftops if applicable (m))  
Is the structure shared? YES/NO
Have all on-site antenna systems been included in the report? YES/NO
Objects (e.g. reflectors, guy-wires, scatterers) in the vicinity of the proposed site that may affect the RF field strength  
Other towers* (broadcast within 1 km and radiocommunication transmitters within 100 m)  
Is the rooftop/tower access restricted and locked at all times? YES/NO

* In addition to the RF installations at the site under study, nearby transmitting antennas can also impact the calculations, especially if they are high-power stations. It is important to assess the full radio environment when evaluating Safety Code 6 compliance. Mathematical predictions and field measurements have demonstrated that non-broadcast wireless stations beyond 100 m have negligible impact on the overall exposure level. Close attention should be given to broadcast stations within 1 km of the proposed site. If it is suspected that there are stations nearby that may impact RF levels at the site under study, these must be taken into account in the detailed calculations. Rationale must be provided as to why any nearby stations were excluded from the calculations.

Table 3: Summary of the parameters for all radiocommunication and broadcasting installation(s)
Parameters* Installation #1 Installation #2 ...
Type of service currently at the site (e.g. TV, AM, FM radio, mobile, cellular, PCS, 3G, 4G, 5G, paging, etc.), power and technology used (e.g. ATSC, NTSC, 4G, LTE-TDD, LTE-FDD, 5G NR, beamforming, non beamforming, etc.) (all broadcast within 1 km and all radiocommunication transmitters within 100 m)      
Proposed new services      
Number of sector(s)      
Frequency bands (MHz)      
Antenna model/manufacturer and description (i.e. overall dimensions (length and width), number of bays, spacing between radiating elements, gain)      
Antenna patterns (details regarding vertical and horizontal radiation patterns)      
Height (m) above ground and/or rooftop to the radiating centre of the antenna      
Downlink Resource Allocation (or TDD DL/UL ratio)      
TDD frame structure (downlink-uplink configuration)      
Azimuth (degrees) for each sector      
Downtilt (electrical) for each sector      
Downtilt (mechanical) for each sector      
Transmitter power (Watts or dBW)      
Maximum EIRP (Watts or dBW) (specify if per sector, per channel and/or per polarization)      
Is the actual maximum approach applied? Yes/No Yes/No  
Has the power control feature and monitoring mechanisms been validated by ISED? Yes/No Yes/No  
Actual maximum EIRP (Watts or dBW)(specify if per sector, per channel and/or per polarization)      
For each frequency band used, list the number of channels per antenna (if more than one) per technology      
Polarization (e.g. horizontal, vertical, circular, elliptical)      
Antenna displacement from site coordinates in table 1 (must indicate the number of metres north or south, number of metres east or west)      
* If a parameter is not relevant to an antenna installation, the applicant should enter “N/A” in that field.


  • ATSC: Advanced Television Systems Committee
  • DL: Downlink
  • EIRP: Equivalent isotropically radiated power
  • FDD: Frequency division duplex
  • LTE: Long Term Evolution
  • NTSC: National Television System Committee
  • PCS: Personal communications service
  • TDD: Time division duplex
  • UL: Uplink

In addition to the above, the technical specifications for any integrated 5G NR radio units should also be captured in the table below.

Table 4: Summary of the parameters for all integrated 5G NR radio units
Parameters Installation #1 Installation #2 ...
Radio/Antenna model      
Technology duty cycle factor (if TDD)      
TDD frame structure (downlink-uplink configuration)      
Channel center frequency (MHz) or NR ARFCN      
Channel bandwidth (MHz)      
SSB center frequency or SSB ARFCN      
Subcarrier spacing (SCS)      
Total radiated power (or rated maximum transmitted power)      
Traffic beam gain      
Broadcast beam gain      
Beam steering range - Azimuth      
Beam steering range - Elevation      
Number of SSB      
SSB horizontal half-power beamwidth      
SSB Vertical half-power beamwidth      
Traffic beam horizontal half-power beamwidth (deg)      
Traffic beam vertical half-power beamwidth      


  • ARFCN: Absolute radio-frequency channel number
  • SSB: Synchronization signal block

5.3. Safety Code 6 assessment

This section of the RF exposure report must include the detailed calculations, field measurements and/or mitigation and corrective measures, as applicable.

5.3.1. Detailed calculations

If detailed calculations are used to demonstrate compliance, the following must be included:

  • a description of the mathematical prediction model(s) used for calculations
  • a description of the software used (if any)
  • a discussion on near field and far field and how field reflections are considered
  • a technical description of RF installations considered in the calculations (using the format of table 3)
  • field levels should be determined at 2 m above ground, structure floor, or rooftop level
  • as part of the simulation, 2D vertical and horizontal views of the field levels must be included for nearby structures, such as buildings with publicly accessible balconies and areas (at 2 m above the structure)
  • a legible site plan clearly identifying any publicly accessible areas (rooftop sites should identify rooftop access points (if locked or not) and show the location of each transmit antenna)
  • figure(s) displaying compliance contours (including north bearing and a scale in the legend to indicate distances)

For 2D or 3D simulations, the following parameters are recommended:

Table 5: Installation parameters
Parameters Installation #1 Installation #2 ...
2D or 3D contours at 1%, 50% and 100% of the limits for an uncontrolled environment in Safety Code 6, with distance grids in metres and originating point (0, 0, 0) at the radiation centre of the antenna.*      
2D plots should include a horizontal view at 2 m above any roof or ground level, or a vertical view that clearly specifies the azimuth of the view      
Generic ground plane image area of 400 x 400 m or satellite ground plane image of 400 x 400 m **      
*(0,0,0) are the displacements in the x, y, z planes; x (east/west) and y (north/south) are the horizontal displacements and z is the vertical displacement.
** In high RF environments ISED may request the radius of stations under study be extended to 1 km to account for all broadcast stations. Radar Installations

In addition to the parameters listed in table 3, the following parameters must also be submitted to assess SC6 compliance of radar installations with SC6 uncontrolled environment limits.

Table 6: Radar (radiodetermination) installation parameters
Parameters Installation #1 Installation #2 ...
Transmitter peak power during the pulse duration for radar system      
Antenna gain      
Duty cycle, pulse duration and pulse repetition frequency representing the worst-case condition(s)      
Antenna dimensions (length and width)      
Antenna half-power (3 dB) horizontal beamwidth      
Antenna half-power (3 dB) vertical beamwidth      
Antenna efficiency      
Scan angle(s)*      
Antenna radar speed (minimum and maximum rotational speed)      
* Azimuth(s) where the radar is “ON”. Sometimes alternate terms such as “safe sector” or “sector blanking” may be used to identify sectors where the radar is “OFF”.

Simulations or calculations must be performed to depict the worst-case operational mode of the radar for both stationary and rotational modes. In addition, a separate analysis must be performed to determine the time-averaged power density over the pulse width.

In cases where a lockout system (e.g. safe sector protection) is used to prevent the radars from transmitting RF energy while they are moving below a minimum velocity, predefined azimuth(s) and/or elevation angle(s), as well as a description of the system must be included in the report. For cellular installations

GL-01 allows the use of computational modelling as a suitable alternative method for demonstrating RF exposure compliance, especially for complex cellular transmitting sites. The simulation software should be based on established mathematical modelling which takes into account all transmitters, including those on site as well as nearby installations.

The computational evaluation should normally be based on the theoretical maximum transmitted power or EIRP. However, to avoid overly conservative predictions, for TDD sites, GL-01 allows the prediction to be adjusted to account for the maximum transmitted power or EIRP, while taking into account the technology duty cycle.

In addition, prior to being allowed to conduct a prediction at the actual maximum transmitted power approach (based on a statistical analysis), the successful power control mechanisms must have been validated and approved by ISED.

5.3.2. Measurements

If field measurements are used to demonstrate compliance, the following must be included:

  • date and temperature
  • special conditions (e.g. stations not operating at authorized power or temporarily relocated)
  • measurement equipment (description and calibration data)
  • measurement methodology (including consideration to time and spatial averaging and near field environment)
  • the manufacturer’s published expanded measurement equipment uncertainty and supporting documents for each device used
  • legible site plan showing measurement locations, access control mechanisms (where necessary) and publicly accessible areas (rooftop sites should identify the location of each transmit antenna)
  • table(s) of measured values normalized to percentage of Safety Code 6 limits for uncontrolled environment, with and without equipment uncertainty, at different locations (see table 7)
Note 4: Depending on the frequency of operation of cellular or radar installation, the time-averaged power density may be reported as the spatial max or the spatially averaged over the vertical extend of a human. See section 3.2.3 of GL-01 for details.
Table 7: Table template for measurement values normalized to percentage of Safety Code 6 limit, with and without the equipment expanded measurement uncertainty, at different locations identified on plans or sketch
Location Measured value normalized limit for uncontrolled environment (% of SC6) without expanded measurement equipment uncertainty Measured value normalized limit for uncontrolled environment (% of SC6) with expanded measurement equipment uncertainty
5.3.3. Mitigation and corrective measures

Any mitigation measures implemented shall be documented. In cases where temporary measures were implemented to ensure compliance, formal engagement and implementation schedules of permanent solutions shall be included. Detailed descriptions of signage and access control mechanisms shall also be included and located on the plan.

5.4. Safety Code 6 compliance statement

A clear compliance statement, which includes all guy-wires and associated anchor points, must conclude every report. Refer to appendix A for an example.

Note 5: Particular attention around metallic structures such as guy-wires must be taken for sites with antenna systems operating at or below 110 MHz to ensure RF levels are below Safety Code 6 uncontrolled environment limits for induced and contact currents. Section 3.3 of GL-01 provides a suitable methodology to assess induced and contact currents.

Furthermore, operators must ensure that RF levels are below Safety Code 6 uncontrolled environment limits for the electric field strength, magnetic field strength and power density limits (3 kHz to 300 GHz) in all areas accessible to the general public.

Appendix A. Example of declaration of RF exposure compliance

ATTESTATION: I attest that the information provided in this section is correct; that a technical report was prepared and information contained therein is correct; that the site evaluation was performed or supervised by me; that applicable measurement methods and evaluation methodologies have been followed; and that the site, including all guy-wires and associated anchor points, is in compliance with the Safety Code 6 uncontrolled environment limits in all areas accessible to the general public.

Signature: _______________________
Date: _______________________

NAME (Please print or type): ___________________________________

TITLE (Please print or type): ___________________________________

COMPANY (Please print or type): ______________________________