The CNSC's Regulatory Framework Plan

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commissions (CNSC's) Regulatory Framework Plan sets out the regulations and regulatory documents that the CNSC plans to develop or amend. The CNSC's regulatory framework consists of laws passed by Parliament that govern the regulation of Canada's nuclear industry, and regulations, licences and documents that the CNSC uses to regulate the industry.

In keeping with the CNSC's commitment to stakeholder engagement, comments on specific documents, regulations and on the Plan are welcome at any time. Comments received will not be formally dispositioned, but will be used by the CNSC to evaluate the need for future amendments, and to make adjustments to the Plan. Suggestions and comments on the Regulatory Framework Plan may be submitted via email.

The Plan outlines the regulations and regulatory documents that the CNSC will be developing or amending in the coming years. Aligned with the CNSC's corporate priorities, the plan also considers current developments in the nuclear environment. It is reviewed regularly and adjusted as necessary.

The Plan includes all activities, from policy analysis through to the publication of regulations and regulatory documents. Documents are reviewed at least every five years. After review, the CNSC decides if they are still appropriate, or need to be updated.

The Regulatory Framework Plan’s structure

The CNSC has recently reorganized its regulatory framework catalogue in order to develop a sustainable regulatory framework structure that better reflects the CNSC’s current approach to regulating the nuclear industry. The new structure presents all existing documents and document projects in a clear and logical manner, according to:

  • regulated facilities and activities
  • safety and control areas
  • other areas of regulatory interest

Regulated facilities and activities

The documents in this category are organized accorded to the type of regulated facility or activity. They provide guidance to applicants on the information required for licence applications, and to licensees on the requirements for conducting the licensed activity. They also point to relevant expectations in the safety and control areas, where appropriate.

This category includes:

Safety and control areas

Safety and control areas are the technical topics used by the CNSC to assess, review, verify and report on regulatory requirements and performance across all regulated facilities and activities. The documents in this category provide requirements and guidance.

Other areas of regulatory interest

The topics in this category include: reporting requirements, public and Aboriginal engagement, financial guarantees for licence activities, cost recovery, Commission proceedings and information dissemination.

Discussion papers, regulations, and regulatory documents

The CNSC follows systematic processes to develop its regulations and regulatory documents, which is illustrated in the Regulatory Framework Plan. The following processes may vary depending on the scope and complexity of the project.

Discussion papers

Discussion papers are used to solicit early public feedback on CNSC policies or approaches. They play an important role in determining the type and nature of requirements and guidance to issue. Discussion papers may precede the development of new regulations and documents. The key stages for the development of discussion papers are:

  1. Analyse the issue – An issue that has been identified in the regulatory framework is analysed to determine the appropriate scope and purpose of the project. This includes a review of existing guidance and standards, and an analysis of the appropriate regulatory actions needed to address the issue. The completion of the analysis phase results in a clearer understanding of the issue and the proposed strategy to address it, which could include the development of new regulations, the revision of an existing regulatory document and the introduction of new regulatory documents. Other regulatory approaches include amending licences and/or licence condition handbooks and increasing compliance activities.
  2. Develop the discussion paper – Once the decision has been made to develop a discussion paper, the CNSC develops regulatory polices or approaches for the subject in question. This stage also includes a rigorous internal review and approval process, as well as the final editing, formatting and translation of the discussion paper.
  3. Consult with stakeholders – The consultation process for discussion papers takes place in two steps:
    1. Consultation: The discussion paper is posted to the CNSC website. The public, licensees and interested organizations are invited to comment on it
    2. Invitation to provide feedback on comments received: Comments are posted on the CNSC website. All stakeholders have an opportunity to view the comments received during the first consultation and provide additional feedback.
  4. Decide on a regulatory approach – The CNSC takes into consideration all the feedback received during this consultation process before determining its regulatory approach.

Regulations

The development of regulations under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act must take into account a variety of circumstances, such as expanding on regulatory requirements or responding to industry changes and innovations. A discussion paper may be developed to solicit early feedback on the proposed regulations. When making regulations, the CNSC follows the requirements of the Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management, which came into effect on April 1, 2012. The key stages of regulations development are:

  1. Develop draft regulations – Once the decision has been made to develop new regulations or amendments to existing regulations, the CNSC develops regulatory expectations for the subject in question.
  2. Approve the draft regulations – The Commission Tribunal and Governor in Council approve the draft regulations for consultation.
  3. Consult with stakeholders – The draft regulations are pre-published in Canada Gazette, Part I. The CNSC posts a notification of the consultation on its Web site. The public, licensees and interested organizations are invited to comment.
  4. Develop the regulations (continued) – The CNSC reviews all comments received during the consultation stage, and determines if any changes are necessary to the proposed regulations.
  5. Approve the regulations – The Commission Tribunal makes the regulations and Governor in Council approves the regulations for publication.
  6. Publish the regulation – The approved regulations are published in Canada Gazette, Part II. The regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered, unless a different date is specified.

Regulatory documents

The development of a regulatory document must take into account a variety of circumstances – such as expanding on regulatory requirements, or responding to industry changes and innovations. A discussion paper may be developed to solicit early feedback on the topic. The key stages of document development are:

  1. Develop the document – Once the decision has been made to proceed with a new or revised regulatory document, the CNSC develops requirements and guidance for the subject in question. This information may be included as a proposed revision to an existing document or the introduction of a new regulatory document. This stage also includes a rigorous internal review and approval process, as well as the final editing, formatting and translation of the draft documents.
  2. Consult with stakeholders – The consultation process for documents take place in two steps:
    1. Consultation: The draft document is posted to the CNSC Web site. The public, licensees and interested organizations are invited to comment on the regulatory document.
    2. Invitation to provide feedback on comments received: Comments are posted on the CNSC website. All stakeholders have an opportunity to view the comments received during the first consultation and provide additional feedback.
  3. Develop the document (continued) – The CNSC reviews all comments received during the public consultation stage, and determines if any changes are necessary to the document. All the comments are collected in a consultation report, which includes the CNSC's response to each comment. The draft documents are then revised as necessary, and prepared for final publication. If the proposed document includes new requirements that the CNSC will impose on licensees, the document is presented to the Commission Tribunal during a public meeting for its review and approval.
  4. Publish the regulatory document – All final documents are released through the CNSC's Web site for use by stakeholders and licensees.

Maintaining the CNSC’s regulatory framework

The CNSC has adopted a lifecycle approach to its catalogue of published regulations and documents. As illustrated in the plan, all published documents will be reviewed every five years. The CNSC will seek opportunities to consolidate information wherever possible. After reviewing a published document, the CNSC will decide whether the document still meets the needs of our stakeholders. The document will be revised, reaffirmed or withdrawn, as applicable.

To receive updates on the CNSC's regulatory documents, sign up for email updates at the CNSC Subscription Centre. Subscribers will receive notices detailing when draft regulatory documents are available for public comment and when they are published.

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.