Officials searching building after roof collapses in Trois-Rivières – Montreal

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Officials are searching the wreck of a heavily damaged building in Trois-Rivieres, Que., to ensure nobody is trapped inside.

Fire department spokesman Dany Cloutier says there are unconfirmed reports that a person might have been inside the commercial building when the roof caved in just after 1 p.m. today.

WATCH: Roof of Mile-End building collapses after heavy snow fall (Feb. 2017)






Cloutier says a canine search-and-rescue team has been called in to help search for any possible victims.

A team of technical specialists from the Montreal fire department is also en route to verify the site is safe before anyone ventures further under the wreckage.

READ MORE: Okotoks equestrian facility may never rebound from roof collapse

The incident occurred less than 24 hours after the roof of a grocery store partially collapsed in the Quebec City suburb of Levis.

Two people suffered minor injuries in that incident, which is still under investigation.

Global News

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Fire blazing through building in Montreal North – Montreal

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A building fire in Montreal North could cause power outages, according to Montreal’s fire department.

Residents are being asked to avoid the area near Jean-Meunier Avenue, which is an industrial area.

Ian Ritchie, Montreal fire department chief of operations, said the fire started in a garage and has gone through the roof.

More to come.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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The pros and cons of building high rises with wood

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From the outside, the construction project underway at 80 Atlantic Ave. in Liberty Village looks like your typical new office building.

But peer through the large spaces where windows will soon be installed and you’ll notice that above the ground floor there is wood everywhere — walls, ceilings, support beams. Only the underground parking, ground floor and elevator core are concrete and steel.

Arbora, a massive mixed use development in Montreal's trendy Griffintown neighbourhood, consists of three buildings that are made primarily from wood.
Arbora, a massive mixed use development in Montreal’s trendy Griffintown neighbourhood, consists of three buildings that are made primarily from wood.  (LSR GesDev)

Designed by Toronto architectural firm Quadrangle, the soon to be completed five-storey office and retail project is a rarity in Toronto — most buildings in the city are still made entirely of concrete and steel.

Like Sidewalk Labs’s proposal to build a high tech neighbourhood in Toronto, with thousands of condominium and apartment units built with timber, the subject of wood buildings is creating a buzz.

Canada already has the world’s tallest wooden building — Tallwood House, an 18-storey student residence at the University of British Columbia — and there are wood structures in Europe and the U.S.

Proponents tout the environmental and esthetic benefits of using the product, but some builders say there are challenges.

“There are many additional things you don’t foresee when you start one of these projects,” said Marc-André Roy, president of Sotramont, a Montreal-based developer that’s one of four partners working on Arbora, a massive mixed-use project made primarily from wood.

“It is much more work,” Roy said in an interview. “We’re doing something new. It took more energy and man hours to get through everything … it’s more complicated.”

The wood used for Arbora is cross-laminated timber (CLT) a product made by gluing wood panels in an angled manner that provides stability and force. The panels are said to be as strong as concrete but five times lighter, making them ideal for floors and load-bearing walls.

But while it may be lighter, there’s debate about whether wood construction is actually cheaper.

Toronto architectural firm Diamond Schmitt has successfully used mass timber for projects including a law school in Kamloops B.C., a trades school in Alberta, and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Diamond Schmitt principal Michael Leckman said that in those cases, “timber prefabrication reduced construction times and reduced costs.”

He added, however, that “cost savings in timber construction are highly dependent on the local construction market, the readiness of bidders and trades to adapt to new methods,” and the ability of those involved to feel confident taking risks with an unfamiliar product.

Aly Damji, a senior vice-president with Toronto-based developer Hullmark, said the cost of using wood was “generally … on par with concrete and steel” for the 80 Atlantic project.

The wood used for Arbora is cross-laminated timber (CLT) a product made by gluing wood panels in an angled manner that provides stability and force. The panels are said to be as strong as concrete but five times lighter, making them ideal for floors and load-bearing walls.
The wood used for Arbora is cross-laminated timber (CLT) a product made by gluing wood panels in an angled manner that provides stability and force. The panels are said to be as strong as concrete but five times lighter, making them ideal for floors and load-bearing walls.  (LSR GesDev handout)

“Our construction estimates priced in the learning curve,” Damji said. “Contingency was built into co-ordinating how our consultants, architects, as well as our structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, would be able to co-ordinate with wood.”

But others take a harder view of wood’s costs in construction.

“It’s not cheaper,” said Annie Lemieux, president of developer LSR GesDev, which is also a partner in the $150-million Arbora project. “Wood ends up costing more than concrete because it’s more complicated and people don’t know how it works.”

Roy said an example of that complexity is the tubes (or “sleeves”) that are usually built into concrete walls for plumbing.

“You don’t put sleeves in wood because (the wood) comes in a slab, pre-made, so you have to bore holes in the wood,” he said.

“You can say, ‘That’s easier, it’s wood’— in theory, yes. But in practice, nobody has experience doing that, so I have to get a guy to bore holes using a special drill. It’s done by a carpenter who, in theory, doesn’t usually do that.”

Designed by Toronto architectural firm Quadrangle, the soon to be completed five-storey office and retail project is a rarity in Toronto — most buildings in the city are still made entirely of concrete and steel.
Designed by Toronto architectural firm Quadrangle, the soon to be completed five-storey office and retail project is a rarity in Toronto — most buildings in the city are still made entirely of concrete and steel.  (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star)

Another challenge is the assumption that wood will burn faster. Roy says fire testing has been done on wood buildings in Canada to ensure their safety, and notes that there are also fire risks associated with concrete and steel.

“A solid piece of wood will char, but not burn. If you remove the charring you’ll still have a solid structure,” he said. “With a fire in a concrete building, there are rods in the concrete that will dilate and make the concrete explode. With steel, the fire makes it melt.”

In theory, wood buildings should be quicker to construct because the product arrives prefabricated — unlike concrete, which takes time to form on site.

But acquiring wood products can be an issue because there aren’t many companies that supply it for big projects. A director for Timmerman Timberworks, which is located near Barrie and is providing wood for the 80 Atlantic project, said the firm needs more than six to eight weeks lead time to get the product to a builder.

Despite those challenges, proponents of wood tout its esthetics, as well as the environmental benefits of using a product that “sequesters” carbon dioxide.

In theory, wood buildings should be quicker to construct because the product arrives prefabricated — unlike concrete, which takes time to form on site. But acquiring wood products can be an issue because there aren’t many companies that supply it for big projects.
In theory, wood buildings should be quicker to construct because the product arrives prefabricated — unlike concrete, which takes time to form on site. But acquiring wood products can be an issue because there aren’t many companies that supply it for big projects.  (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star)

Damji said Hullmark went with wood for 80 Atlantic after the Ontario Building Code was changed in 2015 to allow wood frame structures as tall as six storeys from the previous four. He said the decision was based on the notion the product would bring something “unique” to the market and lure prospective tenants from the standard highrise towers on King St.

Spaces, a workspace provider, and Universal Music are among those set to move into 80 Atlantic when it’s finished later this year, along with Jackman Reinvents, a management consulting, design and branding agency.

Jackman Reinvents CEO Joe Jackman said 80 Atlantic will offer his business a “sustainable and healthful place in terms of construction and specification.”

In Montreal, Arbora’s three eight-storey towers are being built in Griffintown, a hip community where the sustainable and innovative nature of wood construction is appreciated, say Roy and Lemieux.

That’s key to projects like this succeeding, they argue.

“The wood environment is very calming compared to other projects made of concrete. These residents want that,” Lemieux said.

“So for this location and clientele, this works well.” Roy added.

And as for the future of wood buildings?

“As it becomes more mainstream, perhaps it will compete with steel and concrete,” Roy said. “But to penetrate the market. you’ll need a competitive advantage.”

Donovan Vincent is a housing reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @donovanvincent

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Firefighters battling 5-alarm apartment building blaze in Verdun​ – Montreal

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Firefighters are battling a five-alarm fire that broke out in Verdun.

The fire started at around 7 a.m., according to Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal, in the third floor of an apartment building located on 6th Avenue.

Twenty-four apartments are affected.

Officials are asking people to avoid the area while they are working on extinguishing the flames.

More to come…

–With files from Brayden Jagger-Haines

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Police investigate man’s death outside southwest Edmonton apartment building – Edmonton

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Police are investigating a suspicious death in the Ermineskin neighbourhood Sunday morning.

Officers were called to the building near 24 Avenue and 104 Street for reports of a disturbance around 1:50 a.m.

When they arrived the found a man lying on the ground outside the apartment complex.

The man was pronounced dead on scene.

The EPS Homicide Unit has since taken over the investigation.

Police are not releasing any more information, including the age of the victim, until an autopsy is conducted.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Despite Chinese threats, Canada will continue building ‘coalition’ with allies, Champagne says – National

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Canada will continue working to gather allies in its fight with China despite recent threats.

In an interview with the West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson, Infrastructure Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said threats from China last week that Canada should stop gathering allies to speak out against its detentions of two Canadians after the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou will not stop the work at building a “coalition” of partners.

READ MORE: This is why China’s feud with Canada is only getting worse

“We’re going to continue our advocacy, we’re going to continue building the coalition to make sure that the voice of Canada is heard. There’s a number of discussions at high levels. We will always defend Canadians in situations like that,” he said.

“I don’t think threats are necessarily useful or helpful in any of these situations.”

WATCH BELOW: China threatens ‘repercussions’ on Canada if Huawei 5G banned






Global News had initially requested an interview with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale or International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr to speak about China but was told Champagne would be the only one available to speak on the matter.

Freeland and Carr, as well as Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, are among those heading to Davos for the World Economic Forum later this month, where it is expected they will continue work to get allies on board with supporting Canada against China.

Last week, Chinese ambassador Lu Shaye warned against doing exactly that.

WATCH BELOW: Trudeau says they’ll continue to remind China that Canada abides by rule of law






But Champagne said the allies supporting Canada realize that the risks go beyond what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the “arbitrary” detentions of two Canadians and reflect broader concerns about the need to maintain the rule of law against authoritarianism.

“It’s not just about these two individuals,” he said.

“I think the coalition realized if you want to have a world order where the rule of law prevails, where human rights prevail, we have to stick together. We have to speak with one voice and everyone in the world watching should defend these two Canadians against this arbitrary detention.”

The goal, he said, remains to find a diplomatic solution.

He also wouldn’t say whether the threats and rhetoric coming from China should give Canada pause when deciding whether to allow Huawei to build the 5G telecommunications infrastructure set to come up for auction either this year or next.

“The lens we will be applying will be the lens of national security. We’ll listen to our experts but I would say for the rest, we’ll do what’s right for Canada,” he said.

“Whatever other people think or so, we will do what’s right for Canada.”

The government is currently conducting a review of the security of Huawei’s 5G technology.

No date has been set for when that review will be complete.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Fire displaces tenants of Kingston apartment building – Kingston

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Nearly 10 people have been displaced after a fire caused major damage to the second floor of an apartment building in Kingston.

The incident happened around 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Kingston firefighters were called to a fire at the four-storey building on Adelaide Street. No one was hurt, but one unit was entirely gutted by the flames.

“On arrival, our crews did notice smoke and flame from the unit and were able to quickly extinguish the fire,” said Insp. Clinton Debroy with Kingston Fire and Rescue.


READ MORE:
Family of 7 homeless after fire rips through townhouse

The fire affected a number of residents on the second floor, where the fire occurred. The Canadian Red Cross stepped in and is helping those affected with shelter and food.

Tanya Arsenault lives in the building and helped out with evacuating tenants safely.

“The alarms were going off. I was screaming in the hallways for people to get out, that this wasn’t a drill,” she said.


READ MORE:
Kingston Fire and Rescue warn of phone calls in smoke alarm scam

More than 70 people live in the apartment building and all were evacuated as a result of the blaze.

Debroy says his team is still investigating what might have caused the fire but that a number of items inside the affected unit fuelled the flames. The fire was contained in the aparment, but officials say it became a problem when the door was opened, bringing smoke into the corridor.

“What it did was it entered the hallway and it had such a high intensity of heat that the upper layer of it melted the smoke detector,” he explained.

WATCH: Kingston man rescued from fire in vacant Princess Street building






“The entire hallway from end to end is charred and blackened and smells very heavily of smoke,” said Arsenault.

Neighbours say the blaze may have been sparked by a grease fire, but Debroy says it could have been a variety of reasons.

“We couldn’t speak to that. We are examining all different types of evidence we have gathered on site,” said Debroy.

Officials say the fire caused more than $150,000 in damage.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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How ‘passive homes’ are setting new green building standards, $2,000 cat door included

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Sometimes being energy conscious can mean geeking out on gigawatts, or studying the latest heat exchanger technology. But in this case, it involved splurging on a $2,000 cat door.

The super-insulated, radio-frequency-controlled designer cat passageway is one of many energy saving features in a super energy efficient house being built in West Vancouver.

« I was in Austria at a passive house conference, and it was amazing seeing all these building products being built, » said home owner James Dean. « One was a cat door where you needed a certain insulation level, [it] needs to be airtight, and they have an actuator that opens the door for your cat. »

Dean and his wife Janet Allan shared a laugh over the pricey pet portal on a recent tour of the house.

Their nearly completed structure is what’s known as a « passive house, » a category designed to far exceed building codes when it comes to energy efficiency.

The pet door is just one sign of how far they were willing to go to achieve their goal.

Solar panels cover the roof of the West Vancouver home. (Submitted)

They are hoping their family of four can have basically a zero emission lifestyle when it comes to their home and local transportation.

Solar panels, batteries, a fleet of bicycles and an electric car in the garage complete the picture. 

Costing about $3 million to build, it’s not far out of line in pricey West Vancouver. James said he kept close watch on the extras and said it only cost about 4 per cent more than it would have to build a similar home that meets existing building codes.

« We’re going to be what’s called net zero energy, so we’ll generate more electricity over the year and sell it back to BC Hydro than we use, » said Dean.

Passive house construction challenges

The almost finished home is perched on a hill looking over the large freighters anchored in B.C’s Burrard Inlet.

It features European-made eleven foot high triple glazed windows, a high tech ventilation system, and of course, the electric cat door.

In some ways that door highlights one of the problems facing passive house proponents.

Because few are built, costs are higher for many components. For instance, the huge triple glazed windows had to be brought in from Europe because no one could supply them locally.

Some of the other touches are low tech, such as emphasis on the 40-centimetre-thick walls packed with insulation and the work to have every seam sealed.

« Putting in a more insulated and airtight envelope you really simplify the heating ventilation and air conditioning system so you reduce the amount of heating and cooling you need by 90 per cent, » said Dean.

Not essential, but this high tech $2,000 cat door keeps the passive house air tight. (Petwalk)

No one keeps track of how many passive houses there are across the country.

The Victoria-based organization Passive House Canada said there are at least 100 buildings that it knows of that meet the standard, including residential and commercial structures.

The group said that both Vancouver and Victoria have about one million square feet of floor space in passive buildings.

Zero emission doesn’t mean super expensive

Dean’s early pitch to build a passive home wasn’t initially embraced by his wife, Janet Allan. She thought photos of passive houses looked dark and uninviting.

« They’re very blocky with small windows, and I said our family’s not going to live in a house like that. He said it doesn’t have to be that way, let’s build a beautiful home. »

The result is bright and open. Floor to ceiling windows on one wall look out over the ocean.

Dean said going zero emission doesn’t mean being super expensive, especially over the long haul.

« We’ll basically pay nothing in heating and cooling for the house so we’ll get that back over a number of years. »

As pressure mounts to cut carbon emissions all levels of government are pushing ahead with higher energy standards. The goal is less fossil fuel fired heating across Canada.

Matt Horne is the climate policy manager for the City of Vancouver.

« The city has what’s called a zero emissions building plan, and that’s a roadmap out to 2030, so between 2025 and 2030, depending on the building type, all new construction would be zero emissions, » Horne said.

The new Canadian standard being proposed is not as strict as passive house, and is known as « net zero ready. »

Horne said in Vancouver, emissions from homes and businesses add up to about 55 per cent of the total produced, so they’re a focus for those writing building codes across the country.

Few builders are certified for passive home construction. (BCIT/Youtube)

Costs falling for efficient homes

That worries David Foster, a spokesperson for the Canadian Home Builders Association. He said higher upfront costs might never be recovered through lower energy bills.

« We need to make sure the industry is ready, the building science is solid, the economics are there for home buyers so they can afford to get into these houses. »

He points to past mistakes such as the west coast’s leaky condo crisis, where thousands of units rotted due to a mix of bad design and poor building quality as an example of the need for caution before bringing in widespread changes.

Foster said currently the cost of transforming a 2,000 square foot single family home constructed from the current building code to the proposed standard of « net zero ready » is about $30,000. Net zero ready is a step below the passive house in terms of efficiency.

Foster said costs to attain the net zero ready standard have fallen 50 per cent in the last ten years.

The Canadian Home Builders association says costs to construct ‘net zero ready’ homes have fallen 50 per cent in the past decade. (Greg Rasmussen/CBC)

Passive home pioneers

At the West Vancouver passive house, Shawn Barr, with Naikoon Contracting, the company building the home, said few builders are certified for this type of construction.

He said far more attention to detail is needed by all the trades involved.

« If you don’t have the trades, the guys you’re working with, if they’re not on board and all trying to strive to the same thing, it’s not going to be possible. Everybody’s got to care when you’re building a passive house. »

The hope is builders in the upper end of the market will learn techniques that filter down to cheaper properties as building codes increasingly stress the need to reduce emissions.

Home owner Dean said it’s partly about being a pioneer and showing others how to make better use of energy.

« Being the first it’s always takes a bit longer, costs more money, but as more people start to do it i think the costs come down and it’s going to be much more affordable. »

For Allan, it’s about creating a bright and livable home their kids can be proud of.

« Our boys are really excited about it and are growing up in an environment where they’re conscious of being energy efficient. »

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Kingston man rescued from fire in vacant Princess Street building – Kingston

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The old Gino’s Pizza building, which currently stands vacant, caught fire on Christmas Eve with one man trapped inside.

The man, trapped on the second floor of 557 Princess St., was quickly rescued by the Kingston Fire Department, which responded to the scene.

It took around four hours and 21 firefighters to extinguish the blaze.

Kingston’s fire department told Global News a device that looked like a giant wok was believed to have caused the fire and was possibly being used as a heating device.

The area surrounding the device was covered in exposed wood, which only fed the fire, eventually stripping the plumbing and wiring on the floor.


READ MORE:
Abandoned building catches fire on Princess Street

The three-storey building, which once housed Gino’s Pizza, has been sitting vacant for years. The fire department says that homeless individuals are often found inside the structure, but they couldn’t confirm to Global News if the individual trapped in the blaze was a homeless person.

After being rescued, the man was taken to Kingston General Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation but suffered no other injuries.


READ MORE:
Kingston Fire and Rescue warn of phone calls in smoke alarm scam

There have been other fires at 557 Princess St, in the past, but Kingston police told Global News there is no evidence of criminal intent in this case and no further investigation will take place.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Banning Huawei from building new 5G wireless network won’t really hurt Canada’s big telecom firms

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If the federal government moves to ban Huawei from working to build Canada’s new 5G network, it is unlikely to have a major financial impact on two of the country’s top communications companies who have partnered with the China-based firm, analysts say.

Huawei’s equipment is already used in telecommunications infrastructure run by Canada’s major cellphone carriers, namely BCE and Telus. Those two companies are currently in 5G pretrial stages with Huawei, a company some western intelligence officials consider a security risk due to its links with China’s government. 

As the next-generation wireless technology, 5G promises to deliver much faster internet download speeds — possibly up to 200 times faster than today’s LTE networks.

Desmond Lau, a telecommunications analyst with investment research firm Veritas, said BCE and Telus have not put a lot of capital into 5G trials, so the financial hit from a ban on Huawei’s participation wouldn’t be large.    

« It doesn’t sound like all that much has been spent on 5G, » Lau said, adding that neither company has disclosed what they have spent so far. 

« They also have Nokia as another 5G partner, so they could probably just switch all toward Nokia if they really needed to. »

BCE and Telus did not respond to inquiries from CBC News about their relationship with Huawei on building Canada’s 5G network. 

The Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian newspaper, has reported that Ottawa could announce a formal ban on Huawei building the 5G network within weeks. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has called those reports « speculation. »

‘Not arrived at a conclusion’

« The issues are being very carefully considered by Canadians. We have not arrived at a conclusion, » Goodale told CBC Radio’s The House.

According to a Scotiabank telecommunications report, both BCE and Telus use radio access networks (RANs), equipment located at the top and bottom of cell sites, produced by Huawei. 

« To our knowledge, Huawei does not supply the network core, which is software based and considered to be the most sensitive part of the network from a privacy and security perspective, » the report states.

For years, Huawei has been a source of concern for Western security officials, particularly the U.S., which has tried to convince other countries not to buy equipment from the company.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Ralph Goodale calls reports that Ottawa will ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G network ‘speculation.’ (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Huawei denies allegations that it conducts espionage on behalf of China and has said it’s a market-driven business simply looking to compete internationally.

« Huawei has been working with Canadian operators on a number of pre-commercial trials in the lead up to 5G, » said Scott Bradley, a spokesman for Huawei Canada. « These efforts will ensure Canada is well positioned to be one of the early leaders in 5G globally, and will benefit Canadians in applications as diverse as greatly improving rural service, to spurring new innovations requiring increased speeds and capacity. »

This next generation technology will also open up what analysts refer to as the « internet of things, » which would allow everyday devices and machines be connected to a wireless network.

‘Ground-breaking trials’

 « These ground-breaking trials are laying the foundation for 5G, which will enable the likes of driverless cars; smart cities; new innovations in healthcare; as well as yet-to-be-imagined applications, devices and services powered by astonishingly fast and reliable wireless connections, » Telus said in a news release.

But with 5G, one of the concerns is that the network would be more vulnerable to attack. If Huawei has some kind of relationship with the Chinese government, the fear is that the company could install a « backdoor » in the 5G network, possibly allowing access to the network, and creating the potential for widespread disruption.

New Zealand and Australia have banned Huawei from working on their 5G networks. And British phone carrier BT said it would not use their equipment for its planned 5G mobile network. The U.K. company is removing Huawei equipment from the core of its existing 3G and 4G mobile phone networks.

If a similar move to rip out and replace existing Huawei infrastructure were to happen in Canada, it « would obviously be very costly, » according to the Scotiabank report.

Replacing Huawei products in Canada’s existing 3G and 4G mobile networks could cost more than $1.2 billion, Scotiabank’s report said. 

« If logic prevails, even if a ban was to occur, we think it would be on 5G only, » said the report. « We believe this will be more manageable » as there is « limited 5G equipment at the cell sites today. »

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