Participate in a public Commission hearing

The Commission public hearing process is carefully governed by a set of formal rules of procedure under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

General information about how to participate in a public hearing is listed below.

Observe or actively participate

Members of the public are welcome to observe Commission hearings and meetings. You do not need to give advance notice or make a request to attend these proceedings.

Members of the public can formally participate actively as intervenors at Commission public hearings. Interventions can be made in either of Canada's official languages and may be written, or written and oral, as outlined in the notice of public hearing.

Watch public Commission hearings and meetings online

The Canadian Nuclear safety Commission (CNSC) offers online videos, or webcasts, of its public hearings and meetings. If you are interested in learning about what happens at a public hearing or meeting, watch public Commission hearings or meetings online.

How to actively participate

Persons or groups who wish to intervene at a hearing must seek and be granted the status of an intervenor by the Commission. Please note that submitting the request to intervene does not automatically provide intervenor status. Pursuant to rule 19 of the CNSC Rules of Procedure, the request needs to be accepted by the Commission. Acceptance will be confirmed by the Secretariat.

To actively participate, you must send a request to participate with the following:

  1. your written submission, in either English or French, that describes your interest in the subject of the hearing or your expertise in the matter, and the information to be presented before the Commission
  2. if applicable, your request to make an oral presentation on the day of the hearing

Oral presentations are summaries of the key points of your written submission. The length of each oral presentation is usually limited to 10 minutes, followed by an opportunity for the Commission members to ask questions. As the Commission members have already read the written submissions, the question period following an oral presentation is key to ensuring a good understanding of the matters raised and completing the record. Whereas there is usually a 10 minutes time limit for oral presentations, this does not include the question period for which there is no time limit. Oral presentations alone are not possible without a written submission. Actively participating in a public hearing is called an intervention, whether this is done by:

  • written submission
  • written submission and oral presentation

You may present your oral presentation yourself or you may choose to have legal counsel or a spokesperson from your organization present for you. Most participants are not represented by counsel.

In some cases, there may be an opportunity for eligible participants to apply for participant funding. Learn more about the CNSC’s Participant Funding Program (PFP) and find out if there are any current opportunities to apply for PFP.

There are some hearings that are not open for public participation because they deal with subjects that are administrative in nature or deal with confidential matters. Check the notice of hearing to see whether the hearing allows public participation.

The Commission may also accommodate participation in its proceedings by teleconference or videoconference. Arrangements for remote participation should be made through the Commission Secretariat.

Request to participate

The information you will need to complete your request is available in the notice of public hearing.

Please note that your intervention should be specific to the subject matter (as outlined in the notice of public hearing) being discussed at the public hearing.

Send in your request to participate in one of the following ways:

  1. Use the online request form.
  2. Send an email, including the following information:
    • date of hearing
    • subject of the hearing, as listed in the notice of public hearing
    • your contact information, including your name, mailing address and telephone number, or that of your counsel or agent
    • whether you would like to participate only in writing or both in writing and verbally in person
    • your written submission
    • You may also fax your request to 613-995-5086 or mail it to the address listed at the bottom of the screen. Your request should include the same information listed above for sending an email.

Your request and written submission must be received by the Commission Secretariat before or on the date indicated in the notice of public hearing.

Confidential filings

The CNSC has created the Guidance Document on Confidential Filings. The document establishes uniform procedures for filing confidential materials for all licensing applications and related matters that come before the Commission or a designated officer. The document is also intended to assist participants in Commission proceedings in understanding how the Commission will deal with such filings.

This guidance document seeks to strike a balance between the objectives of transparency and openness, and the need to protect information that has been properly designated as confidential. The placing of licensing applications and related materials on the public record is the rule, and confidentiality is the exception. The final decision on whether or not to keep information confidential rests with the Commission.

Notices of hearings and agendas

Notices of public hearing are published in local area newspapers and available on our website approximately 60 days before the public hearing. When there is no public participation, notices of hearing are only available on our website.

Consult notices of public hearing

See the public hearings calendar

Notices of hearing include information about:

  • the kind of hearing (a one-part or two-part public hearing, or a closed session without public participation)
  • the purpose or subject of the hearing
  • when and where the hearing will be held
  • the form of intervention (written submission only or both written submission and oral presentation on the day of the hearing or if it is a closed session, no intervention)
  • deadlines for submitting documents to the Commission Secretariat prior to the hearing if public intervention is permitted

Public hearing agendas are available on our website before the public hearing. The hearing agenda lists the time when the subject matter you are interested in is scheduled to be heard and the order of the interventions. Note that the Commission Secretariat sets the order in which the interventions will be heard in such a way to allow a fair and expeditious process.

To add your name to the Commission mailing list and receive all notices of public hearings directly, send an email or contact us by mail or fax as indicated below. You can also receive email notifications of new information available on the CNSC’s website by signing up at our subscription centre.


The Commission Secretariat will contact you once your request to intervene has been received.

If your submission is accepted, it will be given a Commission member document (CMD) reference number and will be added to the public record. Submissions from the public, CNSC staff and the applicant are publicly available by requesting copies from the Commission Secretariat using the contact information listed below.


For further information about participating in a public hearing or other Commission information, please contact the Commission Secretariat.

Phone: 613-996-9063 or 1-800-668-5284 (toll-free)
Fax: 613-995-5086